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The Guardian

Latest news, sport, business, comment, analysis and reviews from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Women's Rugby World Cup semi-final: England v France – live!

This is the culmination of a big day of World Cup action, in which:

The teams:

England: Waterman (Bristol); Thompson (Worcester Valkyries), Scarratt (Lichfield), Burford (Harlequins), Wilson (Richmond); Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Hunt (Lichfield); Cornborough (Harlequins), Cokayne (Lichfield), Bern (Bristol), Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Matthews (Richmond), Packer (Bristol), Hunter (Bristol, captain). Replacements: Fleetwood (Saracens), Clark (Worcester Valkyries), Lucas (Lichfield), Millar-Mills (Lichfield), Noel-Smith (Bristol), Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Reed (Bristol), Jones (Bristol)

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 6:31 am

The Guardian view on Trump and Afghanistan: unwinnable and unlosable | Editorial

For now, the US president has bent to the views of his generals. But he has no long-term answer to the problems created by the war

Donald Trump is a maverick and a chronic disrupter, but now we know there can be exceptions. On Monday his speech on Afghanistan contained the words: “strategy will change dramatically”. Yet a closer look suggests rather the contrary. No radical break with the Obama years was on offer. The obsession was to appear to introduce change, rather than to deliver it.

Like previous US presidents, Mr Trump wants people to believe that he will act differently from his predecessor. Remember how, in its early days, the George W Bush administration promised that US soldiers would no longer patrol the streets of faraway lands. Or how Barack Obama came into office wanting to unwind “a decade of wars”. In office, events and circumstances dictate more than electoral pledges. Mr Trump has now admitted as much on Afghanistan in his turn. His original instinct “was to pull out”, but “decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval office,” he said. He has duly announced that the US will stay on, and will even add more troops – in as yet unspecified numbers.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 6:12 am

The Guardian view on grocery wars: Lidl Britain | Editorial

Discount stores are upping their game. They have learned that price isn’t everything

British supermarkets were once an established social ecosystem: Waitrose and Marks & Spencer catered for the wealthy, Asda for the hard up, and Tesco and Sainsbury’s for everyone in between. Then a foreign species disturbed it. In the early 1990s, German discount stores Lidl and Aldi arrived in Britain, catering mostly for those who couldn’t afford to go anywhere else. Now they respectively make up 5.2% and 7% of the market, and are stuffed with middle-class shoppers, who shun Sainsbury’s Pimm’s for “Jeeves”, Lidl’s own brand version. On Tuesday Lidl overtook Waitrose to become the Britain’s seventh largest grocer. It now has plans to open 60 new UK shops a year.

The success of these budget shops can be partly explained by a decade of stagnant incomes and government austerity. The depth of the recession, and now rising food price inflation, encouraged people to hunt down the cheap deals (one survey claims Lidl beats other stores on price by some 15%). It is also down to altered social trends. When faith in the banks took a hit in 2008, loyalty to other institutions, including large superstores, did too. Shopping habits became more fragmentary: people carrying their designer handbags would also wear socks from Primark (the effect is known as “Primarni”). If you bought your avocados in Waitrose, you might also buy your milk from Morrisons or Aldi. And as more young people head online for their groceries, supermarkets are competing over a population of ageing shoppers who have the time to look around for the cheapest option.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 6:12 am

Spain terror cell was planning Sagrada Família attack, suspect tells court

Mohamed Houli Chemlal tells Madrid court larger scale attacks were being planned by terror cell

The terror cell that brought carnage to north-eastern Spain, killing 15 people and injuring more than 130, was planning attacks on a much larger scale, including the bombing of Barcelona’s Sagrada Família church, a suspect has told a court.

Mohamed Houli Chemlal made the admission after being brought before a judge in Madrid, Spanish media reported, quoting court officials.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 6:10 am

Trump's endless Mar-a-Lago travel is breaking the bank. Here's a solution for him | Jamie Peck

The president has traveled almost every weekend on ‘working vacations’. If the demands of the job are too much for him, he needn’t stay in office

Back in March, Donald Trump released a budget blueprint that proposed to eliminate some 62 federal agencies and programs – and cripple more of them – by slashing their budgets to far below their actual operating costs. Now he’s threatening to bankrupt yet one more federal agency: the Secret Service.

According to a report from USA Today, the Secret Service – which is tasked with keeping the president and his family safe – is on course to spend its entire annual budget by September. That’s an overage of about 25%.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 6:08 am

Geoffrey Boycott to keep BBC pundit’s role despite ‘unacceptable’ remark

• Boycott suggested he could be knighted if he ‘blacked up’
• BBC confirm former England captain will continue in punditry role

The BBC has confirmed that Geoffrey Boycott will not be asked to resign from his role as a pundit on its Test Match Special radio show despite suggesting that he would need to “black up” in order to receive a knighthood.

The former England and Yorkshire batsman has apologised for the comments made during a question-and-answer session during a break in play at the day-night Test against West Indies at Edgbaston. The Daily Mirror reported that Boycott – who is often jokingly referred to as ‘Sir Geoffrey’ while on air with TMS – is alleged to have said the honour is handed out like “confetti” to West Indies cricketers, including Sir Viv Richards, Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Curtly Ambrose.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 6:03 am

Celtic reach Champions League group stage despite Astana defeat

Celtic progressed into the Champions League as expected but the 4-3 second-leg defeat in Astana was their first of the season although they ran out 8-4 winners on aggregate.

The Hoops’ progress was never in serious doubt following their 5-0 thrashing of the Kazakhstan champions at Parkhead last week however, there were some nervy moments for the Scottish champions in a pulsating encounter at the Astana Arena.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 6:00 am

The Met’s Notting Hill carnival crackdown is an embarrassing grab for headlines

The police force admitted it didn’t know if any of the 300 people arrested were planning to attend the celebration

A slow handclap for Scotland Yard, which has hailed its most successful “pre-Notting Hill carnival crackdown” to date: more than 300 arrests have been made since 11 August, 26 of them this morning in a series of dawn raids, during which a reported total of 190 knives and 18 firearms were recovered. As an intelligence-led operation that took months to conclude and targeted violent crime, the drugs trade and child exploitation, it is a fantastic success: who doesn’t want a safer, happier, calmer city? But as a narrative sold by the police to the public it is, at best, embarrassing: witness the seizure of a kilogram of heroin in Catford by the Metropolitan police, tweeted out by the force as a pre-carnival victory. Because nothing quite screams “party time!” like uncut smack found more than an hour’s journey away from the calypso tent.

Of these 300-plus arrests made, a Met police spokeswoman told me: “We don’t know that these people were going to turn up at carnival. The point of the operation was to target people we know to be gang members and habitual knife carriers. It was to disrupt crime and the culmination of several months’ work.” Let that sink in. General criminal activity in the capital city has been tacked on to Notting Hill carnival and, by the police’s own admission, there is no basis for it – bar, you may conclude, demonising the event.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 6:00 am

Poor and over​priced funfair rides could be closed under new rules

Competition regulator considers proposals from Showmen’s Guild that would also mean more new attractions

Local authorities will be able to shut down poor and overpriced funfair rides under proposals being considered by the competition watchdog.

Millions of people who visit the UK’s travelling funfairs will also have a wider choice of rides and attractions on their doorstep if the Competition and Markets Authority accepts the new rules from fairground operators.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:48 am

'A triumph of reason': Chile approves landmark bill to ease abortion ban

Campaigners hail President Michelle Bachelet’s bill legalising abortion in some circumstances as a victory that opens the way for possible further liberalisation

The decision by Chile’s constitutional court to approve a bill that will allow abortion in some circumstances has been hailed as “a triumph of reason and an act of justice” by campaigners.

The legislation, a victory for the centre-left president, Michelle Bachelet, will allow abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, in case of rape and when a foetus is not viable.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:37 am

Fourth MP quits Bath University role over vice-chancellor’s pay

Darren Jones becomes latest to step down from university body in protest against Glynis Breakwell’s £451,000 package

A fourth MP has resigned from his position on an advisory board at the University of Bath in protest against its vice-chancellor’s £451,000 pay package.

Darren Jones, the Labour MP for Bristol North West, stood down from the university’s court, a statutory body representing the interests of its stakeholders, amid growing unhappiness about the amount awarded to Dame Glynis Breakwell.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:35 am

Jeremy Hunt’s dismissal of Stephen Hawking on the NHS | Letters

Readers air their views on a Guardian article by Professor Hawking and the UK health secretary’s tweeted response to it

Jeremy Hunt’s tweeted dismissal of Hawking’s article (How to solve the NHS crisis – scientifically, 19 August) is revealing: “Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect.2015 Fremantle [sic] study most comprehensive ever”.

If Hunt bases policy on a single publication (which no serious observer would do) then he should read it, and he would see Freemantle’s warning: “It is not possible to ascertain the extent to which these excess deaths may be preventable; to assume that they are avoidable would be rash and misleading.”

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:32 am

Barcelona to sue Neymar for €8.5m for breach of contract after PSG move

• Club also demand he returns a bonus received for renewing contract
• Neymar recently criticised Barça board, saying ‘they should not be there’

Barcelona have announced that they intend to sue Neymar for breach of contract after his departure to Paris Saint-Germain. The Catalan club are demanding €8.5m (£7.8m) in damages, plus the return of an undisclosed bonus paid to the player, having renewed his contract at the club last year, and a further 10% of that amount in interest. They have insisted that PSG take responsibility for payment in the event that the player cannot do so.

Related: Neymar: how the record-breaking €222m move to PSG unfolded

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:18 am

Doctor Who, The Chase and the charts: why Bradley Walsh is everywhere

The gameshow presenter, crooner and former footballer is now being lined up as the Doctor’s new sidekick. Is there anything he can’t turn his hand to?

On Monday, BBC News published an article whose headline asked: “Does the world need polymaths?” It examined why experts historically felt the need to excel in many disciplines, but now typically focus on only one. On Tuesday, as if the universe were playing some kind of cosmic joke, news broke that Bradley Walsh is set to be cast as the latest companion in the new series of Doctor Who. If there was ever a need for proof that the renaissance man is back, baby, then Bradley Walsh is that proof.

The Watford-born entertainer, 57, started out as a professional footballer, signing to Brentford in 1978 and playing for Barnet and Dunstable Town before ankle injuries put an end to all that. Walsh would later score a penalty for England in the Soccer Aid charity game at Old Trafford in 2010. Not satisfied with one sport, he is also adept at golf, with his team winning the second series of celebrity golf tournament All Star Cup on ITV in 2007.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:15 am

George and Amal Clooney donate $1m to combat US rightwing extremism

The Clooney Foundation for Justice partners with the Southern Poverty Law Center to fight “bigotry and hate” in the wake of the events in Charlottesville

George and Amal Clooney have announced a partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat “bigotry and hate” in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice says that it will bestow a grant of $1m to the SPLC in order to assist the civil rights organization in its attempts to combat violent extremism in the US, following the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer at a white supremacist rally in the campus city earlier this month.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:14 am

Airports call for urgent post-Brexit deal on UK-EU flights

Owners of five major UK airports say uncertainty over future of flights is hitting passenger numbers hard, in report submitted to ministers

Airports have joined forces to press the government to urgently strike a post-Brexit deal on flights between the UK and the EU, warning that the current uncertainty alone would be enough to see bookings drop by up to 41%.

A report submitted to ministers by the owners of Manchester, Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports concludes that even if flights are not interrupted in March 2019 when Britain leaves the EU passenger numbers are likely to be hit hard without early assurances.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:07 am

Carroll's portraits of Alice to go on display in birth of art photography show

Original negatives of model for Alice in Wonderland among National Portrait Gallery exhibition, which includes Oscar Rejlander and Julia Margaret Cameron

Fragile images by some of the pioneers of Victorian photography, rarely displayed because the prints and negatives are so vulnerable to light damage, will star in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London next spring

The exhibition will include images by the Swedish photographer Oscar Rejlander, and will be the first time they have been publicly displayed in London since his death in 1875.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:05 am

Naomi Campbell criticises lack of diversity at Vogue

Model posts on Instagram, highlighting the complete absence of non-white faces under former editor Alexandra Shulman

Naomi Campbell has criticised the lack of diversity among staff of the fashion magazine Vogue, highlighting how a staff photo taken under a former editor, Alexandra Shulman, showed a complete absence of black staff members.

Related: British Vogue: what we can expect from Edward Enninful as editor

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:02 am

The rare occasion the media swoons over Trump: when he embraces war | Ross Barkan

War is so ingrained into the US national fabric that the media class can only admire Trump when he promises a troop build-up with no end in sight

On Monday night, Donald Trump spoke in front of the nation as a very serious man, reading off a teleprompter and assuming the steely gaze of TV presidents of yore. He uttered big words in measured tones and made vague pronouncements about a war in Afghanistan that promises to waste lives and money for years, if not decades, to come. A permanent conflict that is the actual Orwellian reality of America today.

No president, whether a constitutional law professor or a narcissistic reality show mogul, has the will to challenge a military-industrial complex far larger and more sinister than any British writer – or Dwight Eisenhower – dreamed of. So ingrained is war into the national fabric that our Washington media class can only think of pageantry when Trump delivers a speech about troop build-up with no end in sight.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:00 am

Matteo Trentin sprints to victory in stage four of Vuelta a España

• Chris Froome maintains overall lead after flat stage four
• Italy’s Trentin has now won stages at all three grand tours

Italy’s Matteo Trentin won a sprint finish to claim the fourth stage of La Vuelta on Tuesday, while Chris Froome maintained his overall race lead.

Trentin powered past Juan José Lobato and had time to lift his arms in victory as he crossed the finish line of the 198km (123 mile) flat ride from Andorra to the coastal city of Tarragona. “I was really looking for the victory because I have been going good this season,” he said. “Everybody pulled together. It was really beautiful coming into the finish.”

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:58 am

York Minster bells to chime again next month after year's silence

New bellringing band to start work in September at cathedral where 30 campanologists were sacked last autumn

The bells of York Minster, which have been silent for almost a year since the controversial dismissal of 30 campanologists, will chime again next month with a fresh team of ringers in place.

The new band, which includes some former volunteers, has been selected by the minster and a new head bellringer, Angela Mitchell, who was appointed in June.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:46 am

Prunella Briance obituary

Founder of the National Childbirth Trust who was an indefatigable defender of the rights of women to information around birth

The National Childbirth Trust began with two births: one an easy delivery for an unnamed young girl in the East End of London around a century ago, and the other a stillbirth for a woman called Prunella Briance, several decades later. The two mothers never met, but their stories were connected by a doctor whose inspiration led Briance, who has died aged 91, to found the NCT.

He was Grantly Dick-Read, a GP from Suffolk, who became committed to helping women make childbirth an easier and more fulfilling experience. Shortly before the outbreak of the first world war, as a young doctor, he attended a birth in an impoverished area of the East End. The young woman was offered pain relief, but refused. The child was born safely, and afterwards Dick-Read asked the mother why she hadn’t wanted drugs. “It didn’t hurt,” the woman replied. “It wasn’t meant to, was it, doctor?”

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:39 am

At-risk London youths sent on holiday over Notting Hill weekend

Council says scheme is effective way of protecting vulnerable young people from harm during carnival

Young people deemed to be at risk of getting caught up in crime and disorder during the Notting Hill carnival this weekend are being removed from the area and invited to a watersports weekend at a cost of more than £1,000 each, the Guardian has learned.

Fifteen young people aged from 13 to 17 have been selected for the trip, which is costing the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea £20,000.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:33 am

Woman’s body found as Danish police search for missing journalist

Headless torso discovered hours after inventor tells court that Kim Wall died onboard his homemade submarine

A woman’s body has been found at the water’s edge in Copenhagen, hours after a Danish inventor charged with killing a Swedish journalist in his homemade submarine told a court she had died onboard.

Peter Madsen told the court that Kim Wall, who has been missing since 11 August, died in an accident onboard his vessel, and that he dumped her body in the sea.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:31 am

Trump to expand US military intervention in Afghanistan

President admits his ‘original instinct was to pull out’ but says he has bowed to advice from officials, and claims he will take tougher line with Pakistan

The US was preparing on Tuesday to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan after President Donald Trump bowed to arguments from his top generals to raise the US stakes once more in the 16-year war.

In a televised address to troops at Fort Myer in Virginia on Monday night, Trump outlined what he claimed was a new strategy for Afghanistan and south Asia. But he did not say how many more troops he would send, how long they would stay, or what their ultimate objective was.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:26 am

Edinburgh fringe’s funniest jokes, from 2012 to 2017 – video

Chuckle at officially the best gags from the Edinburgh fringe festival in recent years. From Stewart Francis’s 2012 one-liner to Ken Cheng’s 2017 triumph, all were voted winner of the Dave funniest joke of the fringe award

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:22 am

Don Pollard obituary

Trade unionist and political campaigner who was one of the driving forces behind the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004

The trade unionist and peace activist Don Pollard, who has died aged 80, was one of the driving forces behind the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, legislation brought in by the British government to curb the exploitation of agricultural and food workers in the UK.

It took the Morecambe Bay tragedy to bring his and fellow union organisers’ efforts to fruition. In 2004, 23 Chinese workers drowned after their gangmasters sent them cockle-picking in lethal tides. Some of the victims had been employed previously on farms in East Anglia, where Pollard had uncovered appalling conditions. His work had laid the ground for a coalition of unions, business, and MPs to push through Labour MP Jim Sheridan’s private member’s bill introducing licensing to the gangmaster sector.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:19 am

Health trust turns down ‘demeaning’ fancy dress nurses' donation

Shropshire community health NHS trust declines money raised by male fundraisers dressed as female nurses

A health trust has turned down money for heart testing equipment because the cash was raised by male fundraisers dressed up as female nurses.

The chief executive of the trust in Shropshire said the bed push event, which has taken place in the market town of Ludlow for three decades, was insulting and demeaning.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:12 am

Seeking further philosophical edification | The Fiver

In today’s Fiver: Jack Wilshere, Barcelona go after Neymar and inspiring a football revolution for girls in Pakistan

It doesn’t seem too long ago when 2011’s Jack Wilshere was considered the future of English football. We can’t put an exact date on it, our memory’s shot to pieces, but it was recent enough and you get the general point. So sad, then, to last night witness the 25-year-old Arsenal midfielder, 25, reduced to throwing hands at a couple of 17-year-olds in an under-23 game. In scenes resembling that time Weird Uncle Fiver finally snapped at the kids outside the 7-Eleven who relentlessly mock his egg-stained string vest and self-administered haircut every time he pops in for his daily paper and four-pack of Purple Tin, Wilshere responded to a heavy tackle by wildly throwing hands at Manchester City youngsters Matthew Smith and Tyreke Wilson in the passionate style. It was only ever going to end one way. Oh Jack!

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:10 am

American politics are becoming violent. But peaceful movements have power | Antonia Juhasz

It’s important to remember that meaningful and lasting change has rarely been brought forth by the violent hands of young men

Murderous violence accompanied a planned race riot organized by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups (please, let’s stop calling what took place a “rally”) in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. Many more such events are now planned to take place across the country.

At least part of the American public appropriately holds Donald Trump and his administration accountable for these events, which by Sunday contributed to Trump’s job approval rating falling to a mere 34% – the lowest of his administration and the lowest rating in Gallup’s history for any newly elected president at this stage of a presidency.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:08 am

Southern rail trials wheel clamping scheme in station car parks

Pilot scheme at Surrey commuter stations to target ‘persistent offenders’ who refuse to pay parking fees and fines

Southern rail is to further test the patience of passengers after months of industrial action and disruption to services by trialling a new vehicle clamping regime in seven station car parks.

Clamping will be tested from September at busy commuter stations in Surrey including Redhill, Dorking and Leatherhead to target “persistent offenders” who refuse to pay car park fees and subsequent fines.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:07 am

Ex-BHS owner Dominic Chappell prosecuted by pensions regulator

Former bankrupt who bought high street retailer that collapsed a year later is sued for failure to provide information

Dominic Chappell, the former owner of BHS, is to be prosecuted by the pensions watchdog for failing to provide information for an investigation into its sale.

Chappell headed Retail Acquisitions, the company that acquired BHS for £1 from Sir Philip Green in 2015. A year later, it collapsed with the loss of 11,000 jobs and a pension deficit of as much as £571m.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:03 am

How afraid should we be of ticks and Lyme disease?

There has been a surge in cases of the tick-borne infection, with rugby star Matt Dawson the latest public figure to warn of the dangers after needing heart surgery to recover. Here’s the truth about the tiny creatures and the harm they can cause

Infected deer ticks are nothing if not indiscriminate when they gorge on human blood. And when the eyeless arachnids sink their teeth into celebrity skin and transmit Lyme disease, we all hear about it. Avril Lavigne, Richard Gere and George W Bush are all said to have experienced the horrors of hosting the borrelia bacteria that can cause a range of debilitating symptoms from fatigue and joint pain to heart problems and partial paralysis.

Related: What should you do if you’re bitten by a tick?

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:02 am

Arrest of Russian theatre director raises fears of clampdown on dissent

Kirill Serebrennikov detained over accusations of embezzling government funds, but supporters claim case is political

Russian investigators have arrested one of the country’s most prominent theatre directors for fraud, in a case that many in the arts world fear is part of a crackdown on dissenting voices.

Kirill Serebrennikov stands accused of embezzling 68m roubles (£900,000) of government funds. He was questioned by investigators on Tuesday and denied the allegations, Russian agencies reported. The director will spend the night in prison and a court will decide on Wednesday whether he should be remanded in custody or put under house arrest.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:55 am

Two North Korean shipments to Syria intercepted in six months, UN told

Security council reportedly investigating suspected chemical and conventional arms cooperation between two countries

Two shipments from North Korea destined for the Syrian government agency responsible for chemical weapons have been intercepted in the past six months, according to a report provided to the United Nations security council in early August.

The report, which was revealed by Reuters on Tuesday, said both shipments were caught in the past six months. Syria’s chemical weapons programme is one of the most sensitive sectors of the Assad regime.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:52 am

How hate groups tried (and failed) to co-opt popular culture

Neo-Nazis have attempted to use 80s John Carpenter movie They Live, Depeche Mode and Johnny Cash but they’ve been met with industry outrage

Johnny Cash was a troubled man, but a sensitive one. His music championed those that society had let down, the outcasts and jailbirds, and extended to them a solemn compassion. And because he laid claim to the outlaw persona in a way that few other artists could, one can almost see why a movement as obsessed with outsiderism as the “alt-right” might place him on a pedestal.

Related: Johnny Cash’s children condemn Charlottesville far-right protester in Cash T-shirt

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:51 am

What to do if you’re over 35 and hate your job

A recent report shows one in six people between 35 and 54 are unhappy in their roles. How can you break out of a working rut?

If you’re 35 and hate your job, the thought that there are only another 30 years or so to go will not be cheering. But you might be consoled by the fact lots of other people aged 35 and over hate their jobs too.

A recent report found about one in six people aged between 35 and 54 are unhappy at work. In the over-55s, that rises to one in five. Only 8% of 18-34-year-olds said they were unhappy, however, which seems to point to 35 as being the age at which workplace misery and malaise sets in.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:32 am

Prison healthcare so bad it would be shut down on outside, say doctors

Doctors tell of understaffed services, with patients missing hospital appointments due to clerical errors or lack of escort

NHS doctors working in prisons have warned that the conditions in which they operate are so unsafe that the services would be closed down had they been outside the prison system, the Guardian has learned.

The warnings have been issued in emails from an internal prison doctors’ email group seen by the Guardian. The fears about failures in prison healthcare come at a time when prisons are under huge pressure as a result of violence, overcrowding, drug use and high suicide rates.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:32 am

The raccoon dog: cute, wild and a terrible idea for a pet

The cuddly-looking feral creature has been increasingly seen in the UK but they could cause havoc with native wildlife – and naive pet owners

Are you an insomniac show-off, who has dense undergrowth and a pond in your garden? Are you keen to wipe out all the local toads and frogs, and fairly relaxed about having hookworm, flatworm or fatal fox tapeworm? If so, then the raccoon dog is the pet for you. And you may be able to buy one at an animal market in Clitheroe, Lancashire, for £60.

The RSPCA would prefer that you didn’t, however: raccoon dogs are wild animals, one of the earliest forms of dog, and related to foxes and wolves (although no relation to actual raccoons, despite visual similarities) – they often go into a sort of torpor in winter, are mainly nocturnal and are certainly not happy in market cages or houses. So people who keep them as pets tend to get sick of them. This can lead to raccoon dogs being released into the countryside, where they multiply rapidly, with disastrous consequences for local wildlife.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:31 am

What festivals look like from a wheelchair | Penny Pepper

It was a joy to participate in the explosion of creativity that is the Edinburgh festival. But there are still obstacles in the way of disabled people

I’m wearing a fetching lilac rain poncho which deftly covers most of me and my wheelchair as it starts to drizzle. There are four more emergency ponchos in my backpack. I’m very grumpy – but it’s not because of the weather. It’s more that I’m cross with myself, on my sixth visit to Scotland’s capital for the parallel universe that is Edinburgh festival and fringe, that I have allowed myself to forget that the place is about as unfriendly in terms of terrain as you can find for a wheelchair user.

I was chuffed to bits when my publisher secured me a slot to discuss my memoir, First in the World Somewhere (to be published next month), at the Edinburgh international book festival. The venue inside Charlotte Square Gardens is a model of accessibility, from the spacious toilets to the matting, which covers the ground throughout, creating a network of pathways with protecting canopies. This makes navigation to all the theatre spaces and shops smooth, and lessens slip hazards, though naturally the rain in this town likes to blow horizontal.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:29 am

Indefinite hospital detention for man who stabbed train passenger

Adrian Brown, who has schizophrenia, was shouting ‘I want to kill all Muslims’ before attack on London Overground last year

A man who repeatedly stabbed a Muslim man on a train after shouting “I want to kill all Muslims” has been detained indefinitely in hospital.

Adrian Brown, who has schizophrenia, attacked Muhammed Ali on the London Overground on 12 December last year.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:25 am

Doctors can't ignore politics. Our patients' lives are at stake | Farzon Nahvi

Our patients depend on us for their care – we must help them get it, whether that comes in the form of pill or policy

If all politics is local, then Washington’s healthcare debacle has brought politics to the front stoop of every healthcare provider in America. There is no escaping it – debates taking place on Capitol Hill are set to affect the very survival of our patients. Irrespective of political leanings, doctors, nurses and providers of all stripes have ethical and professional obligations to speak up and become engaged in order to protect their patients.

While politics have always affected medicine – obstetricians and gynecologists have long fought for women’s health issues, for example – current political events have pushed this into overdrive. In our current political climate, it no longer even makes sense to distinguish between events in Washington and my patient in front of me.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:23 am

Late-night hosts on the solar eclipse: 'That was Melania's chance to escape'

Comics, including Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien, addressed yesterday’s solar eclipse and Trump glancing at the sun sans protective glasses

Late-night hosts on Monday addressed the solar eclipse, the now infamous photo of Donald Trump looking at the sun without protective glasses, and a new report that protection at Trump Tower and for the president’s entire family has depleted the Secret Service’s funds.

“People all over America gathered today to watch the first total solar eclipse in 38 years,” Trevor Noah, back from a hiatus of several weeks, began. “I went out, I had a great time. Everyone in the building enjoyed it. But I think it is safe to say that nobody in America enjoyed it more than Fox News’s Shep Smith.”

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:20 am

Museum visitors' photo stunt damages 800-year-old coffin

Family lifted child over barrier at Essex priory museum, leading to coffin falling off stand, then left without reporting damage

An 800-year old coffin on display in a museum was damaged when a child was placed inside it to pose for a photograph.

The ancient artefact, which is housed at Prittlewell Priory Museum in Southend, Essex, was accidentally knocked off its stand and broken after the child was lifted over a protective barrier.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:15 am

Thousands of Trump-shaped ecstasy tablets seized in Germany

A man, 51, and his 17-year-old son are in custody after drugs with estimated street value of €39,000 found in Osnabrück

German police say they have seized thousands of tablets of the party drug ecstasy in the shape of Donald Trump’s head, a haul with an estimated street value of €39,000 (£36,000).

Police in Osnabrück, in north-west Germany, said they found the drugs while checking an Austrian-registered car on the A30 highway on Saturday.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:59 am

Trump heads to Phoenix for large rally but visit likely to increase tensions

Donald Trump has been snubbed by the Republican governor of Arizona as he heads to the state for a campaign rally on Tuesday, amid fears that the event will attract neo-Nazis determined to wreak havoc.

Related: Donald Trump to expand US military intervention in Afghanistan

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:49 am

‘Tory’ is a swearword in the north. Is George Osborne a strange exception? | Helen Pidd

I wasn’t sure about his northern powerhouse. But the former MP for Tatton is right to tell Theresa May that improving transport links is vital

Tempting though it is to tell George Osborne to butt out and stop interfering, now he edits a London newspaper instead of representing a northern seat, I must lightly applaud the former chancellor for still banging on about the north-south divide.

Related: Osborne calls for May to back 'northern powerhouse' rail plans

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:41 am

Turnberry: Trump's golf hotel given £110,000 Scottish tax rebate

US president’s luxury resort benefits from scheme set up to help small businesses affected by economic slump

Donald Trump’s luxury hotel in Turnberry has been handed a £110,000 tax rebate by Scottish ministers as part of an emergency bailout intended to help struggling small businesses.

Figures reveal that the Trump Turnberry hotel on the coast of Ayrshire, where suites cost up to £815 a night, had its property tax cut by £109,530 as a result of the measure. That led to a 13.5% reduction in its normal annual business rates bill of £811,850.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:40 am

Why England’s north is still waiting for its powerhouse | Andy Burnham

My experience in the Treasury taught me that the test for assessing projects is biased against poorer regions. The north must not be pushed to the back of the queue any more

I will start with a confession: I was the chief secretary to the Treasury who brought together the funding package for London’s £15bn Crossrail 1 project.

Services are not yet running on Crossrail 1, but already the government is dropping heavy hints that it will give the green light to London’s £30bn Crossrail 2. Pretty galling for anyone in the north-east still waiting for a full motorway connection.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:38 am

Mark Wahlberg named 2017's highest-paid male actor with $68m

The Transformers star pushed last year’s winner Dwayne Johnson into second position in Forbes’ annual list

Mark Wahlberg has been named the highest paid male actor in Hollywood, earning an estimated $68m in the past 12 months.

The annual list, assembled by Forbes, places the 46-year-old in top position after paychecks for Transformers: The Last Knight and forthcoming comedy sequel Daddy’s Home 2. Yet despite his earnings, the most recent Transformers film was a commercial disappointment, making $600m worldwide – the lowest performing installment yet. He’s just finished production on fact-based Ridley Scott drama All the Money in the World, alongside Michelle Williams and Kevin Spacey.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:35 am

Makeup for men: will blokes go big for bronzer?

The head of L’Oréal UK says men’s cosmetic counters will soon arrive in stores and Asos is selling a range of makeup aimed at men. We tried a manly makeover to see if the products will filler gap in the market

Rock stars and circus performers aside, male forays into makeup have often been rather timid. The attitude that “real” men don’t wear warpaint could be due for a makeover, however, as L’Oréal’s UK managing director, Vismay Sharma, predicts male-focused cosmetic counters could be a permanent feature of beauty halls within the next decade. A generation of men raised on selfies and carefully curated social media profiles are much more open to a bit of slap than their fathers.

“Manscara” is going mainstream but are British men ready for it?

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:34 am

PFA calls for fresh investigation after Eni Aluko’s claims of racism and bullying

• England manager Mark Sampson understood to deny allegations
• Chelsea back their player for ‘speaking about her experiences’

The Professional Footballers’ Association has backed the call for “an open, transparent and independent investigation” into how Eni Aluko’s grievances were handled by the Football Association.

Its intervention came as Chelsea “commended” their forward for “speaking about her experiences” after she accused Mark Sampson, the manager of the England women’s football team, of telling her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a game at Wembley.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:33 am

Baltimore mayor on Confederate statues: 'Why should people have to feel that pain every day?'

Catherine Pugh discusses her decision to remove four Confederate monuments overnight, an operation aimed at deterring violence like that of Charlottesville

What happens overnight can take years to unfold. And after months of impassioned public debate, a special taskforce and a unanimous city council vote, residents of Baltimore woke up last Wednesday morning to a city cleansed of its Confederate monuments.

Related: The Guardian view on Confederate statues: they must fall | Editorial

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:24 am

Game of Thrones season seven: how do you think it will end?

Who will bite the dust? Who will bend the knee? And will Jon and Dany get together? Share your finale predictions now and we will publish your best theories

Game of Thrones season seven is reaching its denouement, and we know many of you can’t wait to find out about the future of the Iron Throne.

Talk of hackers threatening to leak the final episode has dominated internet discussions, but this hasn’t deterred fervent speculation about what will happen in next Monday’s series finale.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:16 am

David Squires on … Chelsea v Spurs and a Carabao Cup draw in Beijing

Our resident cartoonist picks his highlights from week two of the Premier League, including Arsenal’s defeat at Stoke and Marko Arnautovic’s red card

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:54 am

Asda bins 10,000 bags for life after 'Isle of White' spelling error

Store had printed design featuring local children’s illustration to mark opening of branch in Newport, Isle of Wight

If you’re going to print 10,000 special edition bag-for-life carriers to celebrate the opening of your new store, it’s probably best to make sure you won’t have to throw them away before the launch.

Which is what supermarket Asda has been forced to do after printing 10,000 bags with the misspelling “Isle of White” to mark the opening of its first shop on the island.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:51 am

Man who murdered PC Gordon Semple died by hanging, court hears

Stefano Brizzi was taken off suicide watch at high-security prison a month before his death, pre-inquest review told

A murderer who ate part of his victim’s body and tried to dissolve the rest in acid died by hanging in his cell a few months into his life sentence, a court has heard.

Stefano Brizzi was taken off suicide watch at the high-security Belmarsh prison about a month before his death, a pre-inquest review hearing was told on Tuesday.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:50 am

Gemma Arterton reveals studio filmed her exercising to make her lose weight for role

Actor describes ‘traumatic’ experience in Morocco when Hollywood producers flew out a personal trainer and filmed her at the gym to prove she was exercising

Gemma Arterton has revealed that she was once forced to lose weight for a role by Hollywood producers, who flew out a personal trainer to work with her on location and filmed her at the gym to prove that she was exercising.

Speaking to the Guilty Feminist podcast in June, the British actor described the experience, which occurred while she was filming in Morocco, as “traumatic”.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:35 am

Japan's field of dreams: school baseball teams vie for Koshien glory

Playing on the stadium’s hallowed ground is every young baseball fan’s goal, and the final will be front-page news

On Wednesday afternoon, millions of Japanese people will stop what they are doing and turn their attention to the nearest TV screen to follow the fortunes of 18 student athletes.

The occasion is the final, decisive game in the national high school baseball championships. The national broadcaster NHK will screen every inning live, the victors are assured of front-page coverage in the following day’s newspapers and, for a couple of hours at least, Japan will come together in the name of amateur sport.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:12 am

Crystal Palace set to bid for RB Leipzig winger Oliver Burke

• Former Nottingham Forest player likely to cost around £15m
• Roma’s Lukasz Skorupski and Barça’s Munir El Haddadi on Palace target list

Crystal Palace are expected to follow the appointment of Dougie Freedman as sporting director with an offer for Oliver Burke, with the Scotland winger braced to leave RB Leipzig before the end of the transfer window.

Burke, who worked with Freedman at Nottingham Forest, moved to the Bundesliga club last summer for £13m but, despite some promising early cameos and a goal on his third appearance, made only five league starts over his debut season. The 20-year-old was omitted from the Leipzig squad for Saturday’s loss at Schalke in the first round of German top-flight fixtures, with Frank de Boer having confirmed Palace’s interest last week. He is likely to cost around £15m.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:06 am

Inside Conor McGregor’s Dublin: the making and shaping of a fighting superstar

As Conor McGregor prepares for his $100m boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather, Donald McRae uncovers a complex genius with the help of those who know him best
• Dublin pictures: Paul Faith for the Guardian

Patrick Hyland, a gentle and amusing former boxer who once called himself The Punisher, waits for the boys and girls he now trains at the gleaming Straight Blast Gym in Tallaght, Dublin 24. An empty ring sits in a far corner while, to his left, the MMA cage is also silent on a sleepy afternoon. It will be another hour before the chattering kids who dream of becoming boxers or UFC fighters tumble in to work with Hyland and the mixed martial arts trainers.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:59 am

Nederlands Dans Theater review – reach for the moon

Edinburgh Playhouse
Pairs of dancers push together and pull apart in this thrilling triple bill from choreographers Sol León, Paul Lightfoot and Gabriela Carrizo

With a near 60-year history and a world-class reputation, Nederlands Dans Theater are no strangers to Edinburgh’s 70-year-old festival. In this week of the eclipse, the moon scans across their triple bill of dance. Shoot the Moon (2006), with its black-and-white silent-movie savvy, uses the angular, arcing, ballet-based choreography of Sol León and Paul Lightfoot (together now leading the company) to best advantage. The moon catches couples in intimate expressions of their relationships – the push and pull of staying and leaving – and a revolving set of empty rooms allows us to enter these moments.

The beauty of this piece lies in the precision that draws the multi-layered elements together. The dancers’ performances are filmed and streamed live on screens above them, mirroring their movements, to the accompaniment of Philip Glass’s Tirol Concerto for piano and orchestra. Only the intrusion of an angry shout of “I am”, by a partner lost in his thoughts, seems misplaced.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:53 am

Fancy Bears accuse 25 players of being given TUEs during 2010 World Cup

• Leaked document alleges players from 12 countries given TUEs
• ‘More than 150 players were caught doping in 2015,’ say Fancy Bears

The cyber hackers group, Fancy Bears, have released a document alleging 25 players from 12 countries were allowed to use prohibited substances during the 2010 World Cup.

According to the leaked document, published on Tuesday, 25 footballers were given therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) during the tournament in South Africa, which was won by Spain.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:49 am

Louise Linton and the ‘self-sacrifice’ of a mega-rich Trump administration spouse

The Scottish actor and wife of millionaire US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin became embroiled in an Instagram spat over her lavish tastes while on a trip to Kentucky

Name: Louise Linton.

Age: 36.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:49 am

Swimmer's lone tribute to Spain attack victims – video

Spanish swimmer Fernando Álvarez sacrifices his race at the Fina World Masters Championships in tribute to those affected by the recent terror attacks in Spain. Álvarez stood alone on the blocks after his request for a minute’s silence for all competitors was denied, he claims. Organisers did arrange for a moment of silence the following day at the main pool and before the closing ceremony when all participants were present

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:49 am

Anohni on Future Feminism: 'Trump is just a distraction from the core issues'

The transgender musician is bringing her Future Feminism project to Europe, putting feminine values first – and argues that our very ecology depends on them

In February, in her first speech after the inauguration of Trump, Hillary Clinton made the declaration that “despite all the challenges you face, I remain convinced that yes, the future is female”.

It was a bittersweet moment for Anohni, the musician and artist who formerly performed as the Mercury prize-winning Antony and the Johnsons. Three years earlier she, and four fellow artists, used the phrase “the future is female” as a central tenet of their Future Feminism manifesto, even carving it into stone for a controversial exhibition in New York that year.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:45 am

Mayweather v McGregor: the Money Fight explained – video

Undefeated boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr will fight mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor on 26 August. Both fighters are expected to earn upwards of $100m each but beyond that why are they fighting? Both fighters stand to risk a lot in this one-off bout, so we take a fair look at the ins and outs of the match up

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:45 am

R Kelly faces fresh allegation of underage sex and physical abuse

Allegedly breaking a non-disclosure agreement, Jerhonda Pace claims the R&B singer ‘slapped and choked and spat on’ her and that he had sex with her below the age of consent

Following a recent spate of allegations that he was brainwashing women in a cult-like setup, another woman has accused R&B singer R Kelly of physical abuse and underage sex.

Speaking to Jim DeRogatis of Buzzfeed, who has reported on allegations against Kelly for many years, Jerhonda Pace says that she lost her virginity to Kelly aged 16, one year below the age of consent in the US state of Illinois where the incident took place. She broke off contact with Kelly after an incident claiming: “I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on” by him.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:26 am

Floods claim more than 800 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh

Millions affected by severe flooding in south Asia, as aid agencies struggling to cope with disaster warn of food shortages and risk of disease

More than 800 people have been killed and 24 million affected following widespread floods across south Asia.

Severe flooding has devastated communities and destroyed crops in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, with NGOs warning of food shortages and the risk of disease.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:25 am

UK is briefly in the black – but fixing the public finances will take time | Larry Elliott

Repairing the hole in the public finances after the financial crash is taking a lot longer than it did after previous recessions

The government was in the happy – and unusual – position of being in the black in July. To the surprise of the City, tax receipts were higher than public spending. Not by much, but a surplus is still a surplus even if in the context of a £1.8tn economy it is small change.

This, though, was a classic case of one swallow not making a summer. For a start, the deficit in the first four months of the financial year – a much better guide to the trend than a single month’s figures – was higher this year than last.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:21 am

Wings over Scotland blogger arrested for alleged harassment

Stuart Campbell detained in Bath after woman complained of online harassment over past two years

Stuart Campbell, a controversial blogger who runs the Wings over Scotland political website, has been arrested after a woman alleged she had been harassed online.

Campbell, 49, originally from Stirling, was arrested in Bath on Friday on suspicion of harassment and malicious communications, and released on bail until mid-September while police investigate further. The arrest was carried out by Avon and Somerset police at the request of the Metropolitan police.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:13 am

Dancing noses and performing robots: today's unmissable photos

A selection of the day’s best images, including baboons in South Africa, pilgrims in Mecca and sleeping under the stars near London’s Big Ben

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:08 am

A bit vanilla ... in defence of our most dependable ice-cream flavour

A rise in unusual, Instagrammable flavours such as matcha, allied with the rising costs of Madagascan pods have threatened the dominance of Britain’s favourite scoop. But there will always be a place on our plates for vanilla ice-cream

Plain. Conventional. Unimaginative. That’s vanilla.

Or rather, that’s vanilla when it’s used to describe sex – the word has become synonymous with boring, lights-off, one-partner, no-cuffs action. Even if you like it that way, no one wants to be described, dismissively, as “vanilla”.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:01 am

Ahir Shah review – a call to arms against political complacency

Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
The astute standup drills into the divided, dysfunctional state of our world in a combative hour of coruscating comedy

“I’m left, I’m liberal and I’m losing,” says Ahir Shah, but with this new show, Control, he’s not going down without a fight. It’s a piledriver hour about the rise of authoritarianism, and the eclipse of the liberal values many of us took for granted. It’s not uplifting: those looking for good cheer should look elsewhere. Shah finds plenty of laughs in the benighted state of the world, and his reaction to it – but alarm, not amusement, is the keynote. Shah is horrified, and angry, and he’s not soft-soaping that for easy laughs.

The opening stages are deceptive, as Shah warns against tarring Leave voters as racists. As his vegan-who-likes-Nando’s analogy proves, you can join bad teams for innocent reasons. But the tenor of the show contradicts this equable introduction. The deeper Shah drills into Trumpism and the nativist landscape, the more he finds racism at its root. “Take this country back” begs the question “from whom?” – and Shah thinks the answer’s obvious. Fashionable political ideas about “the common man” and the “victims of globalisation” are just code, he argues, for wanting a white monoculture.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 12:01 am

USS John S McCain: human remains found in search for missing sailors

US navy in process of establishing whether remains can be identified as sailors from USS John S McCain, which hit tanker off Singapore

US navy divers have found human remains inside the sealed compartments of a warship that was hit by an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, the commander of the US Pacific fleet has said.

Admiral Scott Swift said the Malaysian navy, which is helping with the search, had also reported finding a body. He said the US navy was in the process of establishing whether any of the remains could be identified as one of 10 sailors reported missing after the incident.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:58 pm

Monaco ultras turn on Kylian Mbappé amid PSG transfer interest

• Supporter group releases statement condemning young forward
• ‘We cannot accept that one of our players demand such figures’

A group of Monaco supporters has criticised Kylian Mbappé and his entourage for their conduct during the summer transfer window as the teenage France forward edges close to joining Paris Saint-Germain.

Reports in France have suggested PSG are in talks over a €140m (£128m) move that would see the 18-year-old join initially on loan in a bid to avoid financial fair play sanctions from Uefa after the £198m transfer of Neymar. The Brazil forward Lucas Moura would also move to Monaco as part of the deal.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:53 pm

Ischia earthquake: cheers go up as rescuers free third trapped brother

Third of three brothers who were trapped in rubble of home freed by rescuers after magnitude 4.0 quake on island in Bay of Naples

Rescue teams working through the night and into Tuesday freed three brothers trapped in the rubble of a house on the Italian island of Ischia, after a magnitude 4.0 earthquake that killed two women and left 39 injured, at least one of them seriously.

The strength of Monday night’s quake under the Bay of Naples was revised up to magnitude 4.0 by the INGV, Italy’s seismic observatory, after initially being reported at 3.6. More than 2,500 people were reported to be homeless or displaced and about 1,500 have fled the island.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:50 pm

Too many have died in Afghanistan already. Trump must not draw us back | Owen Jones

The history of this bloody conflict shows the west cannot win. The UK must refuse to become embroiled again

The test of any professed opposition to Donald Trump is what response is forthcoming when he starts dropping bombs or sending soldiers to die. There were those who spoke in grave tones about Trump’s threat to world peace – even implying he was an American Hitler – but got teary-eyed as soon as he sent missiles hurtling towards a Syrian airfield. Now he has unveiled plans to send more American soldiers to the graveyard of Afghanistan – and he wants Britain to follow suit. His latest military escapade must be resisted.

The war in Afghanistan is a monumental and – in comparison to the more notorious Iraqi quagmire – little-discussed calamity. More than 2,400 US soldiers have died there; the British death toll is over 450. As Joan Humphreys – who lost her 24-year-old grandson private Keith Elliott to the disaster – puts it, the war represents a “total waste of British lives, Afghan lives, American lives”. All families were proud of their sons, but many felt they had “died for nothing”, she said in 2014. “It has been a senseless conflict,” says Ann McLaren, who lost her 20-year-old son Scott. “What did we achieve? Nothing. It was all a waste of time.”

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:46 pm

Police investigate death at Flamefest sex festival in Tunbridge Wells

Man dies and woman taken to hospital after being found unconscious at adults-only event in Kent

Police are investigating an unexplained death at a “kinky rave festival” in Kent.

A man in his 50s was pronounced dead on Tuesday morning following Flamefest, which was held in Tunbridge Wells over the weekend. A woman, in her late 40s, was flown to hospital by air ambulance after being found unconscious, Kent police said.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:44 pm

Fake UK lawyer jailed for conning dying woman out of life savings

Michael Cremin tricked Sandra Burch, who has terminal cancer, out of £92,000 and committed other frauds to buy fleet of cars

A “fantasist” who posed as a barrister to trick a woman with terminal cancer out of her life savings has been jailed for eight years.

Michael Cremin conned Sandra Burch out of £92,000 in a property deal and also committed other frauds to buy a fleet of cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:38 pm

Abducted UK children at greater risk if legal ties cut, Brexit officials say

Appealing to foreign courts for help could become harder if Britain fails to persuade union to continue legal cooperation

Parents in the UK would find it “much more difficult” to recover abducted children if Britain fails to persuade the EU to continue legal cooperation after Brexit, according to government officials detailing their latest plans.

Officials said the process of appealing to foreign courts for help could become much more complicated, when asked about a hypothetical case of a child of a British parent being taken out of the country by a spouse from another member state as an example.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:33 pm

Calvert-Lewin and Agüero face no action under new FA simulation rules

• Everton and Manchester City forwards involved in red-card incidents
• FA intends to pursue charges only in clear cases of no contact

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sergio Agüero will not face Football Association charges of simulation under new regulations for their involvement in incidents that led to red cards for Kyle Walker and Morgan Schneiderlin in Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Everton.

Calvert-Lewin and Agüero have escaped being referred to a three-person panel that judges cases of alleged simulation as, it is understood, the incidents are not viewed as clear-cut.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:33 pm

Rachel Roddy’s recipe for ricotta, lemon and olive oil ring cake | A kitchen in Rome

The local bar’s former owner will always be remembered for his ciambellone ring cake. This version blends ricotta, olive oil and lemon – so easy and delicious that it’s always time for cake

There were so many delays in the renovations of Moka in Testaccio that I dared to hope it would never happen. Then it did. Toni retired to his garden and, like so many others in Rome, the old market bar was given a vigorous facelift: 50 years of wrinkles, coffee stains and smoke swirls, but also life and experience, were smoothed and sanded. Progress, I know, but what sadness when history is swept away like that.

I just hope somebody saved the zinc bar with its panelled base, the chiller cabinet that once upon a time dispensed wine like petrol, the fridges and luminous latteria sign, the woven plastic chairs, the coloured cups and saucers that were a bit too thick, the heavyweight juicer, and the plastic dome with an orange base that provided a home for a ciambellone cakes.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:24 pm

UK medicines agency seizes HIV home-test kits over false result risk

More than 100 Hightop kits, which have not met EU regulations, seized as agency warns consumers against using them

More than 100 HIV home-testing kits have been seized by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) amid fears over their reliability.

The agency believes it has seized all stock of the Hightop HIV/Aids home-test kit from UK suppliers but is warning consumers against purchasing the product online or using it, if already purchased, because of the potential for false results.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:21 pm

The battle over Confederate statues – video explainer

Statues of Confederate leaders are being removed from public spaces in several US cities. Hundreds of monuments honouring the losing side in the civil war could soon be moved or destroyed, prompting an outcry from far-right groups

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:21 pm

India court bans Islamic instant divorce in huge win for women's rights

Controversial practice of ‘triple talaq’, which allows men to dissolve marriages instantly, declared unconstitutional

An Islamic practice permitting men to instantly divorce their wives has been declared unconstitutional by India’s supreme court after decades of campaigning by women’s groups and victims.

The “triple talaq” has allowed Muslim men to dissolve marriages by pronouncing the word “divorce” three times.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:03 pm

Locker Room Talk review – toxic catalogue of misogyny reveals men's fears

Traverse, Edinburgh
In Gary McNair’s uncomfortable show – staged at the Edinburgh fringe for one performance – four women repeat the sexist ‘banter’ of anonymous men

Four women stand on stage wearing earpieces. They hear the words of real men interviewed by playwright Gary McNair and relay them back to us. Those men – doctors, cabbies, gym bunnies and manual workers – spring into life as their words spew across the stage.

Related: Locker-room banter is not just about Trump – it's men everywhere

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:03 pm

To fight child obesity – let children play outdoors more with their friends | Rob Wheway

Instead of penning them in and shrinking pizzas, let children play outside with their friends – and not just for the exercise

Obesity is an environmental issue not a disease. Children growing up in the 1950s and 1960s were not obese. Virtually all people over 60 (and many younger) remember walking to infant school without an adult. Most travelled unaccompanied from the age of five after being taken for a couple of weeks by a parent. Children would also be able to run around in their own street and go on errands at this age. In other words, they had daily healthy exercise at no cost in money or time to the government and their parents.

Since then, the car has increasingly dominated residential roads, which are therefore more dangerous. Parents sensibly react to the increased danger and keep their children penned in. This unhealthy trend predates mobile phones or computer games.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:00 pm

Nigel Slater’s smoked trout colcannon recipe

Crushed spuds in a herby dressing with juicy chunks of fish

Put a deep pan of water on to boil and salt it lightly. Boil 200g of new potatoes for about 15 minutes until they are tender and crushable.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:00 pm

UK public finances notch up first July surplus since 2002

Public sector net borrowing in that month returns to the black for first time in 15 years, bolstered by self-assessed tax receipts

The government ran the first July budget surplus in more than a decade last month, as Britain’s public finances recorded an unexpected leap back into the black with help from an increase in self-assessed tax payments.

Related: UK public finances see first July surplus since 2002 – business live

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:00 pm

UK families could get money off shopping bills if they hit exercise goals

NHS ‘healthy towns’ scheme could offer rewards such as free cinema tickets in attempt to reduce lifestyle-related illnesses

Families could be offered discounts on their food shopping, cut-price sports gear and free cinema tickets for hitting exercise targets in a drive to reduce the burden of lifestyle-related illness on the NHS.

The proposals, for residents to receive rewards if they walk a specified number of steps, form part of NHS England’s plans for 10 new “healthy towns”, intended to address serious healthcare problems including obesity and dementia.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:52 pm

Legalise prostitution? We are being asked to accept industrialised sexual exploitation

Author of Pimp State, Kat Banyard explains how researching her book revealed why we need to end the sex trade - and how to do it

Right now, a global push is under way for governments to not only tolerate but actively enable the sex trade. The call is clear: decriminalise brothel keepers, pimps and other “third parties”, allowing them to profiteer freely – and certainly don’t dampen demand for the trade. This is no mundane policy prescription. The stakes are immense.

How we respond will be a measure of how seriously we take violence against women and the inequality underpinning it. Because what we are being asked to do is accept and normalise industrialised sexual exploitation.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:40 pm

'Be the maddest one in the room': how to make a nightclub last for 30 years

Glasgow’s Sub Club is celebrating its 30th birthday, having weathered bad 90s techno, empty dancefloors and fake IRA gunmen. Its leading lights explain how they’ve carried on for so long

Thanks to a generation who prefer festivals, a class of gentrifiers who’d rather not have repetitive beats near their valuable real estate, and the need to please everyone from the police to local councils, it’s arguably harder than ever to run a nightclub. And yet Sub Club in Glasgow is now celebrating 30 years in the game.

DJs Harri and Domenic are permanent fixtures and hold the longest-running club residency in the world, having given up pretty much every Saturday night for 23 years. We asked them, along with the club’s managing director Mike Grieve, about how they’ve lasted so long – and how anyone might hope to replicate their success.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:32 pm

English Football League investigates after fans made to show bras to stewards

League launches inquiry after at least 10 supporters subjected to ‘invasive’ checks at Stevenage FC’s stadium

The English Football League is investigating after female football fans were made to show their bras during “grossly invasive” security searches.

At least 10 Grimsby Town supporters had their bras checked by stewards at Stevenage football club on Saturday.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:30 pm

If Northern Irish women can now have an abortion in England, why not here? | Goretti Horgan

A policy offering free terminations for those who can travel is a first step. Now we need to change the law for those who can’t

Northern Ireland’s Department of Health has declined to issue new guidance on abortion to doctors and other health professionals because “there has been no change to the law on abortion”. This is despite the fact that the situation clearly has changed since women from the region can now access free, NHS abortions in England.

This stubborn refusal to recognise the reality of women’s reproductive healthcare needs is concerning because it ignores the fact that, at present, GPs in Northern Ireland are not permitted to purchase procedures outside Northern Ireland “that would be illegal in Northern Ireland”. This prohibition clearly needs to be updated to take account of the new situation.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:28 pm

Chinese activist Jiang Tianyong's subversion trial dismissed as sham

Rights campaigners reject reported ‘admission of guilt’ by lawyer accused of trying to topple China’s one-party state

Human rights activists have denounced as a sham the trial of a leading Chinese civil rights lawyer who authorities claim tried to topple China’s one-party state.

Jiang Tianyong, 46, was put on trial in the central city of Changsha on Tuesday morning having vanished into the custody of security services last November during a crackdown on lawyers described as China’s “war on law”.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:25 pm

Brian Aldiss: the pre-eminent science-fiction writer – and always a gentleman

Neil Gaiman remembers the ‘grand old man’ of sci-fi, whose death at the age of 92 was announced earlier in the week, as a ‘genially opinionated giant’

I encountered Brian Aldiss when I was a boy. I liked him as a writer, but even more than I enjoyed his writing, I loved his editorial choices: his influence on Penguin’s science fiction through the 1960s was immeasurable, and he introduced me to many of my favourite writers.

Related: Brian Aldiss obituary

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:14 pm

Back to school sports: the women returning to netball

A surge in sports participation around the country has seen many, particularly mothers in their 30s and 40s, get back into the team sports of their youth

As a carefree teenager, my Saturday county netball games were motivated by my desire to compete and a simple, but steadfast, determination not to let the goal attack into the circle to shoot. More than two decades later and my life is filled with drop-offs, pickups, birthday parties, household chores, arguing with awkward children at home and managing even more awkward grownups at work.

Yet at the back of my mind there has always been a longing to return to my favourite school sport, if only I had enough time. Post-children, this desire only grew stronger as I desperately sought “me time” and an activity where I did not have to think for three other people. In my mid-30s, I joined an informal netball group in Kibworth, Leicestershire, after spotting it listed in the local newspaper. Now 38, I am gearing up for my second competitive season in the Market Harborough netball league, which starts in September.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:07 pm

Mystikal surrenders to authorities over sexual assault charge

Police had issued a warrant for the rapper’s arrest after an alleged attack last October

Rapper Mystikal has surrendered to authorities in the US state of Louisiana, where he faces a sexual assault charge.

A video recorded by KSLA-TV shows the 46-year-old rapper, whose real name is Michael Lawrence Tyler, as he entered the Caddo correctional centre in northwest Louisiana on Monday 21 August. According to Press Association, online booking records also confirm his location.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:04 pm

Painting by Canaletto’s nephew to stay in UK after £11.7m appeal

The Fortress of Königstein from the North by Bernardo Bellotto acquired by National Gallery with donations and Art Fund grant


A spectacular view of a German fortress by the 18th-century Italian artist Bernardo Bellotto, nephew of the far more famous Canaletto, has been acquired by the National Gallery after an appeal raised almost £12m to save it from export.

The government placed a temporary export bar because of the painting’s historical importance and the centuries it had spent in British collections to allow a UK institution time to match the sale price. The National Gallery raised the £11.7m through donations from individuals and trusts, including $6.5m (£5m) from the American Friends of the gallery and a £550,000 grant from the Art Fund.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:00 pm

Will Steve Bannon's war tear apart the Republican party? | Corey Robin

Bannon has now decamped to Breitbart to wage ‘war’ – his words – on those on the right who oppose his agenda. This could prove fatal to conservatives

Once upon a time, conservatives plotted a path that began with the magazines and ended in the White House. With Steve Bannon’s departure from the Trump administration on Friday to head the Breitbart News Network, we seem to be witnessing the reverse: an unspooling of history that begins in power and ends in print.

In 1955, William F Buckley launched National Review, declaring war against liberalism and the Democratic party but also, and more immediately, a civil war on the right.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:00 pm

Hacking Hockney: the Mexican American painter bringing Latino culture into art

Ramiro Gomez’s work has playfully riffed on Californian classics to bring awareness to the lack of representation for the Chicano community in art

In the 1960s, a young David Hockney, infatuated with the sun and sensuality of the west coast, introduced the world of high art to the markers of Los Angeles domestic bliss. He was dazzled by an array of immaculate modernist houses with backyard swimming pools and lawns equipped with sprinklers, a total novelty to an artist who had grown up with English rain. His paintings crystallized a quintessential image of Los Angeles in popular culture, despite failing to capture the entire picture.

Enter the work of Ramiro Gomez, a young LA painter born in California to two undocumented Mexican immigrants (who have since obtained legal citizenship). In 2014, he reproduced Hockney’s A Bigger Splash, a painting of an LA backyard seen beyond the tip of a diving board, noted for the implied subject, presumably under the splashing water. For his version No Splash, Gomez added the implied characters; not the diver, but a pair of faceless, dark-skinned workers raking the water for impurities and squeegee-cleaning the house’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Employing the same technique, he subsequently turned Hockney’s American Collectors into American Gardeners, and Beverly Hills Housewife into Beverly Hills Housekeeper. Diverting from Hockney’s focus on southern California splendor, Gomez’s painting calls attention to those whose labor is required to maintain it, both as homage and soft-spoken rebuke.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:00 pm

Godzilla vs Kong: whoever wins Hollywood's monster mashup, we all lose

Adam Wingard has promised a definitive victor when the giant beasties go at it in 2020. But the history of ‘versus’ movies suggest that, irrespective of who triumphs, audiences will feel short-changed

The last 18 months have seen something of a renaissance for the high-octane big-budget B-movie. From the hyper-real monster mashup of Kong: Skull Island to the one-gal-against-the-ocean thrills of Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows, to trashy superhero epics such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the multiplexes have been invaded with low-concept, semi-infantilised cinema. It is no surprise to discover that Hollywood executives are currently greenlighting movies based on the whims of four-year-olds, because most of the above films could have been dreamt up – at least in terms of their basic concept – by small children.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing for those of us who love genre fare. The entire blockbuster era was ushered in when Hollywood began looking for counter-programming to the auteur-led film-making of the 1970s, and for all its faults it has delivered myriad examples of totemic cinema. Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is a B-movie in all but name, right down to the giant rubber shark that features as the antagonist; likewise, 1977’s Star Wars is the kind of far-out, boys’ own space romp that would and could only have been made as a cheap throwaway for the drive-ins and grindhouse theatres just a few years previously.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 9:48 pm

Why Trump's Afghanistan strategy risks the worst of both worlds

Open-ended commitment to send in more troops leaves US and allies without clear mission in middle of worsening conflict

Donald Trump has probably never heard of the Grand Old Duke of York and his 10,000 men. But in spelling out his new Afghan strategy, the US president gave a good impersonation of that symbol of military muddle-headedness, incompetence and futility immortalised in the English nursery rhyme.

By marching US troops back up the Afghan hill, having previously solemnly vowed to march them down and out of the country, Trump risks the worst of both worlds: leaving the US and its allies neither up nor down, without a clearly defined mission, and stuck in the middle of a worsening conflict.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 9:35 pm

Girls on social media: do you feel pressure to be perfect?

We want to look at the idea of perfectionism and online pressures among girls and are keen to hear your stories

Social media is awash with airbrushed images of celebrities and models, taken from specific angles and with camera filters that wildly distort reality. But what impact does the consumption of these images have on our perception of ourselves?

Related: Half of UK girls are bullied on social media, says survey

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 9:06 pm

Will UK consumer law destroy the care home market?

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating amid concerns that the social care system could have competition and consumer protection problems

Adult social care is on the financial ropes. Last year it was the introduction of the “national living wage”, this year it’s the requirement to backdate pay for sleep-in shifts. In both cases, the government is being urged to step in to prop up care providers.

There is, however, a new threat lurking in the wings that could plunge social care into further chaos: the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). In December 2016 the CMA launched a study into care homes amid concerns that the current system could be creating competition and consumer protection problems. An update paper was published in June that raises three main issues: information to support choice, better redress of grievances and compliance with consumer law.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 9:02 pm

Wayne Rooney burns bright to rekindle England hopes under Southgate’s gaze | Jamie Jackson

Adam Lallana’s thigh injury has opened up berth in Southgate’s squad and he must be impressed at how Rooney is back knocking in the goals for Everton

Wayne Rooney’s 200th Premier League goal was particularly sweet as it came before a Manchester City crowd who just love to detest the former Manchester United captain. Rooney left Old Trafford in the summer for Everton as record scorer with 253 goals. Here he registered a 19th finish for his boyhood club, an instinctive left-foot jab that squeezed under Ederson’s legs before ricocheting in via the left post. Rooney duly put extra spice into his celebration at a venue he has previously enjoyed for United.

Related: Raheem Sterling draws comfort for 10-man Manchester City against Everton

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 9:00 pm

How one family inspired a football revolution for girls in a village in Pakistan

The Inayats started a team in Shimshal, motivated by social pressures faced by young girls in the region, and now they cannot keep up with demand

Shimshal is a small village in one of the most northern parts of Pakistan, the highest settlement in the Hunza Valley at 3,800 metres above sea level. A short distance from China’s most western border, it has a population of about 2,000 inhabitants.

City life is a world away; dusty Shimshal is a 16-hour drive from Islamabad, 20 from Lahore. It is not the sort of pocket where one would expect to find an appetite for women’s football. Yet girls are queueing up to take part.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 9:00 pm

'Worth everything': America takes in total solar eclipse from coast to coast

Viewers along the path of totality were treated to two minutes of nighttime in the day and the otherwise unimaginable sight of a 360-degree sunset

The moon blocked out the sun on Monday as the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the US in nearly a century began over the west coast, while millions of Americans looked skyward in wonder through protective glasses, telescopes and cameras.

Related: Porta-potties, police, prayers: how a tiny Idaho town prepares for the solar eclipse

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 8:49 pm

Endangered whales won't reach half of pre-hunting numbers by 2100, study says

Research finds endangered Antarctic blue, fin and southern right whales struggling to recover despite hunting bans

Populations of the endangered blue and fin whales, which were hunted nearly to extinction in the 20th century, will not have recovered to even half of their pre-whaling numbers by 2100, according to a new Australian study.

The research, published in the Fish and Fisheries journal next month, analysed 122 years of whaling data from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and current population survey data to project future population growth, based on predicted food availability in the southern oceans.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 8:32 pm

Girona: the town with the world’s top restaurant now has a team to relish | Sid Lowe

Loud and leaping fans test the strength of Girona’s temporary stands as top-flight debut verges on perfection against formidable Atlético Madrid

On the way out of the Free City of Braavos, over the river and to the south, leaving King’s Landing behind too, is a bar. Unlike the buildings and narrow streets of the old town of Girona, the setting for Game of Thrones, it’s nothing much and it’s not exactly medieval but it is the only one on Avinguda de Montilivi and the last stop en route, so a small crowd gathers dressed in red and white. On the window is a sign. “Stadium: half a kilometre,” it says. A few hundred metres further along concrete blocks moved into place by a forklift truck guard the road and beyond that, the arena rises up – much higher than it used to.

Half the stand is made of scaffolding and to the left there is more of it, erected over the seats and complete with a tarpaulin roof, the kind of structure temporarily set up for fiestas all over Spain. The stands were not there a few weeks ago; well into the summer, they still did not even have permission to build, so when they went up they went up fast. They had to: scene of 25 sieges, captured seven times, Girona has a 2,000-year history, 97,586 people, and the best restaurant in the world, according to Restaurant magazine, but until Saturday it had never had a first division football team. Until, a bit before seven, heading down the hill from the other side came Atlético Madrid.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 8:29 pm

Osborne calls for May to back 'northern powerhouse' rail plans

Former chancellor says UK must build high-speed railways across northern England to avoid becoming ‘one-trick pony’

Theresa May must commit to George Osborne’s pet project aimed at bolstering northern England to avoid the UK becoming a “one-trick pony”, the former chancellor has said.

Osborne, who became the editor of the London Evening Standard after being sacked by May when she took office, called on the prime minister to back the “northern powerhouse” and build high-speed rail links across northern England. Failure to do so would risk allowing the capital to continue to grow faster than the rest of the country, he said.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 8:01 pm

Maldives army occupies parliament to block no-confidence vote

Opposition MPs are prevented from entering chamber after mounting claims that President Abdulla Yameen is reversing years of democratic progress

The Maldives military locked down the nation’s parliament on Tuesday in what opposition lawmakers said was an attempt to block a motion to impeach the speaker of the house.

Related: Maldives quits Commonwealth over alleged rights abuses

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 7:30 pm

We can’t ban killer robots – it’s already too late | Philip Ball

Telling international arms traders they can’t make killer robots is like telling soft-drinks makers that they can’t make orangeade

One response to the call by experts in robotics and artificial intelligence for an ban on “killer robots” (“lethal autonomous weapons systems” or Laws in the language of international treaties) is to say: shouldn’t you have thought about that sooner?

Figures such as Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, are among the 116 specialists calling for the ban. “We do not have long to act,” they say. “Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.” But such systems are arguably already here, such as the “unmanned combat air vehicleTaranis developed by BAE and others, or the autonomous SGR-A1 sentry gun made by Samsung and deployed along the South Korean border. Autonomous tanks are in the works, while human control of lethal drones is becoming just a matter of degree.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 7:00 pm

Jenny Zhang and Carolina Sanín – books podcast

On this week’s podcast, we talk to the Chinese-American author Jenny Zhang and the Colombian writer Carolina Sanín

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud and Acast. Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

On this week’s show, the musician and writer Emmy the Great talks to Jenny Zhang. Born in Shanghai and raised in New York, Zhang’s first collection of short fiction, Sour Heart, is a made up of loosely-connected stories featuring the daughters of Chinese immigrants.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 7:00 pm

Safe by Ryan Gattis review – a Ghost story with a difference

A junkie turned safe-cracker is pursued by criminals in Gattis’s gripping novel about hope, his second book set in Los Angeles’ ganglands

Ryan Gattis’s 2015 novel, All Involved, featured 17 first-person narratives over a period of 144 hours during the 1992 LA riots. His new book, Safe, again set among the drug ganglands of Los Angeles, similarly features a compressed timeline – 48 hours – but here Gattis pares the voices to just two narrators.

Ricky “Ghost” Mendoza is a former addict and now safe-cracker for the DEA: “Ricky Mendoza, Junior, wasn’t my real name, just one I took as my legal back when it seemed smart to. Like, the real me died back when I changed it and what’s left of me just floats.” Meanwhile Rudy “Glasses” Reyes is a drug-runner for one of LA’s most notorious gangsters, Rooster: “When you work for him, you got to be invisible. One ant in a colony. One tiny speck among a million other ones.”

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:29 pm

Cambridge University censorship U-turn is censored by China

Chinese academics commend decision to unblock access to sensitive articles, but Beijing expunges mention of the climbdown from internet

Chinese intellectuals and bloggers have celebrated Cambridge University’s decision to push back against Beijing’s draconian information controls – but Communist party censors reacted almost immediately to prevent word of the snub spreading in mainland China.

Cambridge University Press, the world’s oldest publishing house, had faced a ferocious public backlash following its admission last week that it had complied with a Chinese order to block access to more than 300 politically sensitive articles published in its journal the China Quarterly.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:28 pm

Teachers in elite universities not feeling benefit of £9k tuition fees

University teaching staff complain they are paid less than researchers and have inferior contracts, report shows

It took Susanna 10 years before she was promoted to senior teaching fellow, and she says she was one of the lucky ones. Many new teaching-only contracts awarded in her department at a leading research university are “non progressable” – there is no expectation that teaching staff will go any further within the institution.

“It’s demoralising. You feel, ‘why should I do the extra mile if my mile isn’t being recognised?’” she says. “It doesn’t give promotion, and it doesn’t even give praise.”

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:15 pm

The north remembers: how once-proud Bolton became 'a nothing of a town'

The market town stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the north-west’s mighty industrial cities – until a football stadium relocation and rival shopping centres gutted its historic centre. Is the fightback coming too late?

The final day of 2016 was a Saturday. In the centre of Bolton, Lancashire, the streets should have been crowded with shoppers at the sales. A few shops were doing decent trade, but it was hardly thronging. Those with Christmas money still in their pockets might have been attracted to the grand-looking jewellery shop with the large “sale” posters in the window. But this was no regular post-Christmas sale. After 145 years of business, Prestons of Bolton was closing for good.

As staff at “the diamond centre of the north” sold off the last few rings, five miles north Bolton Wanderers were preparing to face Scunthorpe United at the Macron Stadium, the club’s gleaming, out-of-town base. They went on to win their top-of-the-table clash 2-1, in front of a crowd of 17,000 fans. Nearby, many thousands more people shopped at Middlebrook, the adjacent mall.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:15 pm

New Zealand thieves selling stolen avocados on Facebook

With global demand for avocado showing no sign of abating, the black market has moved on to social media

New Zealand’s avocado thieves have been forced to get creative this season by selling their stolen wares on Facebook as police intensify efforts to catch them.

With local and global demand for avocados showing no sign of abating, there have been dozens of night-time raids on orchards by thieves across the upper North Island since July.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:08 pm

There is no place in academia for craven submission to Chinese censorship demands

After an outcry, Cambridge University Press has reinstated deleted articles about China. It’s proof that we must remain wary of creating two academies – one devoted to truth, the other to securing the power of Beijing officials

Imagine if the British government could eradicate the miners’ strike from history. Not just by deleting all news coverage but by preventing the academic study of it. Imagine if, at university courses on the history of modern conservatism, all mention of it was banned. Imagine if, on top of that, a major global academic publisher voluntarily deleted all discussion of the miners’ strike from a prestigious journal.

You now have a sense of the scale of what Cambridge University Press had done by deleting more than 300 articles from China Quarterly, following a request from the Chinese government. The decision, which has been reversed and the articles reinstated in the face of a threatened academic boycott, could lead to China blocking this and other related content. To which conflict I say: bring it on.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

What trans soldier Albert Cashier can teach Trump about patriotism

When Trump moved to ban trans people from serving in the US military, he ignored the long history of trans soldiers fighting for their country – starting with Albert Cashier, born in 1843

On 6 August 1862, a young man called Albert Cashier enlisted in the Union army in Belvidere, Illinois. He was short for a soldier, just 5ft 3in. His fellow privates noted that Cashier kept his collar buttoned high up his neck, above his Adam’s apple, and that he always slept apart from the other men.

Cashier’s size did not hold him back. Fighting with the 95th Illinois infantry, he was involved in some of the most important battles in the war.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

Stop raising and lowering the GCSE high-jump bar | Michael Rosen

The reason everyone takes GCSEs is not so all can do well but so a certain number will fail. What’s that about?

Did you know that an outbreak of GCSE-itis is arriving in England in a few days’ time? Most seriously affected are likely to be commentators hoping to make cheap political points about standards.

One theory that has held sway for about a hundred years is that standards are falling and as a result young people leaving school are dull, stupid, cannot count, cannot write and cannot think. As most of these no-longer-young people are now running society, this perpetual decline in standards should have caused total collapse. Has it?

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

'I use food banks' – workers on the impact of the pay squeeze

With real pay falling again in the three months to May, cash-strapped households continue to feel the pinch. We asked readers to share their experiences

The pay freeze that we have been subject to has led me into deeper and deeper debt, no savings, a broken marriage, a host of creditors seeking payments and an inability to keep up with rising utilities, fuel and food prices. It’s an absolute disgrace that while politicians and bankers still award themselves pay increases and bonuses, those that had no part in creating the recession are suffering more and more. I would be better off being unemployed.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

How much can you exercise while pregnant?

For years, mothers-to-be have been told to cut back on exercise and take it easy despite the positive effects on body and mind. So how much is OK – and what workouts are recommended?

‘Stop running, kill the wild swimming and be careful about cycling.” I like my GP – he is a funny, hardworking man, practising in a diverse community with stretched resources. But when I walked into his office, six weeks pregnant, his advice on exercise during pregnancy felt a little like being wrapped in a vacuum bag. I didn’t want to stop exercising. I can’t really afford to stop cycling (thank you Transport for London) and I would genuinely fear for my mental health if I gave up running overnight.

Exercise during pregnancy is controversial. Serena Williams, winner of 23 tennis grand slams, made headlines worldwide on Monday, simply for declaring her plans “to keep exercising for as long as possible while pregnant”. For much of recent history, write the authors of Exercise During the Childbearing Year, “pregnant women were treated as if they had an illness and were subjected to a state of confinement. They were advised to relax, avoid strenuous exertion, and minimise stretching and bending for fear of strangling or squashing the baby”. Even in the first few months, when your body remains bumpless, some people will knit their brow and take a sceptical breath if you say you intend to remain active. You will be warned off lying on your back, swimming anywhere but a pool, lifting anything heavier than a feather and putting any sort of pressure on your joints. But is this advice based on evidence?

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

UK condemned over 'shocking' export of deadly weedkiller to poorer countries

UK accused of double standards as thousands of tonnes of pesticide not authorised for use in EU are produced in Britain for export to developing world

A highly toxic weedkiller not authorised for use in the EU is being exported to developing countries from a UK factory.

Paraquat, a pesticide so lethal that a single sip can be fatal, has caused thousands of accidental deaths and suicides globally, and was outlawed by EU states in 2007.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

The blue dogs of Mumbai: industrial waste blamed for colourful canines

The group of strangely coloured canines was first spotted on 11 August prompting locals to complain to the local pollution control board

Authorities in Mumbai have shut down a manufacturing company after it was accused of dumping untreated industrial waste and dyes into a local river that resulted in 11 dogs turning blue.

Related: Murder most foul: polluted Indian river reported dead despite 'living entity' status

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:50 pm

Down and shirty: 10 of the best longline shirt dresses – in pictures

Rihanna loves them, Theresa May wore one on holiday – shirt dresses are versatile creatures. Here is our pick of the best longline varieties, ideal for work, weekend fun or late-summer weddings

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:45 pm

Solzhenitsyn's Russian Revolution epic to be published in English

First complete translation announced of dissident’s multi-volume historical novel The Red Wheel – his ‘life’s mission’ – after anonymous donor funds project

A grant from an anonymous donor is enabling the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s epic cycle of novels about the Russian Revolution – a work which was the Soviet dissident writer’s “life’s mission”, according to his son – to be published in English for the first time.

Stephan Solzhenitsyn said the upcoming translation covered “the very heart of the Russian Revolution: the toppling of Russia’s 1,000-year monarchy”. His father was born in 1918, a year after the revolution and at 17 he decided to “be its chronicler”, in 1936. “War, prison, camps, survival from terminal cancer, and his fight to tell the story of the Gulag intervened and delayed, but did not stop him from his life’s mission,” said Stephan.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:30 pm

Total solar eclipse across the United States – in pictures

Sky-gazers stood transfixed across North America on Monday as the sun vanished behind the moon in total eclipse for the first time in nearly a century

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:08 pm

Toppling statues? Here’s why Nelson’s column should be next | Afua Hirsch

While the US argues about whether to tear down monuments to the supporters of slavery, Britain still celebrates the shameful era

The area I grew up in, leafy Wimbledon in south-west London, is bordered by memorials to two towering historical figures. One side dedicates its streets and walls to the legacy of the abolitionist William Wilberforce: the remnants of a house where he lounged with his friends, and the mounting block he used to get on his horse to ride to the Houses of Parliament, still stand.

The other side is devoted to Admiral Horatio Nelson, who having defeated the French navy bought a romantic estate where he stayed with his lover, Emma Hamilton. So many streets, pubs, shops and other local businesses recall this history that local estate agents refer to the area as The Battles.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

Spectacular rebirth of Belize's coral reefs threatened by tourism and development

Report reveals improvement but also details danger posed by tourist-generated pollution, oil extraction and climate change

Just below the surface of the turquoise sea, coral flutters majestically amid schools of puffed up porcupinefish and fluorescent blue and yellow angelfish.

The gangly staghorn and fanning elkhorn corals are thriving in swimming distance of Laughing Bird Caye, a tiny Caribbean sandy islet in southern Belize, thanks to a restoration project that is yielding striking results.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

Exam boards told to expect surge in requests for GCSE re-marks

Pupils will find out on Thursday how they fared in reformed exams as teachers complain of working in the dark

Examination boards are being warned to expect a surge in the number of requests for re-marks following the publication later this week of GCSE results that are predicted to be the most volatile in years.

More than 600,000 pupils in England will find out on Thursday how they fared in reformed GCSEs in maths, English literature and English language. The exams are being assessed using the new scale of 9 to 1, which replaces the old A* to G grades.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

Why did Boris Johnson blow £940m? Because the system let him | Hugh Muir

There’s justified anger over the cost of the former mayor’s pet projects. But a culture that lionises individuals is also to blame

In any discussion of public profligacy and poor stewardship, one is obliged to consider the record of the foreign secretary Boris Johnson – for his two terms as London mayor appear to provide numerous examples of squander in search of grandeur. The garden bridge; the little-used cable car over the east of the Thames; the new Routemaster bus, for which no sound economic case was ever established; the derided ArcelorMittal Orbit fogging the skyline of London’s Olympic park. As the Guardian reported last week, a total of £940m was spent on his “vanity projects”.

Each debacle bears scrutiny, not just to know what has happened to public money, but also in the increasingly important context of Johnson as a senior member of a Brexit-bound government which promises, against all the evidence, that it has the financial nous and negotiating prowess to secure from Brussels the “best deal for Britain”.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

Living in a void: life in Damascus after the exodus

During six years of civil war in Syria, novelist Khaled Khalifa has watched wave after wave of friends and family flee his home city. But despite everything, he has decided to stay

My sister, whom I haven’t seen for more than two years, told me she was going to cross the sea in a rubber dinghy. She hung up, not wanting to hear what I thought. She merely said something profound and sentimental and entrusted her three children to my care in the event that she drowned. A few minutes later I tried to call the unfamiliar Turkish number back, but the phone had been turned off. Hundreds of images from our childhood flooded my memory. It’s not easy to say goodbye to half a century of your life and wait for someone you love to drown. My fingers and toes felt cold and my head empty, and I didn’t feel able to argue anyway. What can one offer a woman who has lost her home and everything she owns and, not wanting to lose her children too, carried them off into exile to seek a safe haven in Turkey? Things are not easy for a woman like her there. She looks like millions of other Syrian women and does not have any special skills. All that’s left is the hope of asylum, even if it requires crossing the sea in a rubber dinghy. It’s as if she’s trying to tell me something I know already – that the sea is Syrians’ only hope.

Maybe it was luck that saved my sister. She didn’t drown, and she found friends to help her in Greece and in the other countries she passed through. She certainly didn’t talk about unpleasant experiences with traffickers fleecing her out of what little money she had or leaving her destitute in an airport waiting room. In any case, she eventually reached her destination, and in Denmark found another group of friends who could provide support. Some of her fellow adventurers had drowned in scenes of unimaginable horror. Death may take many forms, but the bleakest and blackest of them all is death by drowning, which is a complete denial of everything the human body stands for. The drowned body becomes food for the fishes of the sea, and dissolves like salt in a bowl of water.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

My best summer photograph: sand, scorpions and sausage sarnies

Phallic corn, the world’s greatest lay-by, an ostrich on the rampage and Iggy Pop in the pit … top photographers, including Wolfgang Tillmans and Chloe Dewe Mathews, pick their great summer shots

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

Ugly treasures: horrible ornaments we just can't hide away. Now share yours

From purple broccoli shakers to a rock shaped like a bottom, Guardian writers confess all about the souvenirs and gifts they can’t throw out. What ugly treasures are lurking in the dusty recesses of your home? Send us your photos

What does precious really mean? Precious and valuable – or precious and valuable only to you?

Guardian Australia staff realised that when it comes to the treasures we inexplicably keep, it can mean both, and there are some items that must go into hiding during the annual throwout because of their sentimental value, no matter how unattractive they are.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 12:08 pm

Ken Cheng's pound coin gag voted Edinburgh fringe's funniest joke

Comedian who quit Cambridge University for online poker says both his careers are based on ‘extreme punishment or reward’

The 10 funniest jokes we heard at the Edinburgh fringe

They say comedy can be found in the most banal of subjects, and the 2017 winner of Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe award puts that theory to the test.

Related: From scissor attacks to diabetes improv: comedians' weirdest gigs

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:01 am

Star seekers, a bee party and polar bear explorers: Edinburgh festival kids' shows

The fringe programme is bursting with family theatre this year, from the gentle Snigel and Friends to a campsite Peter and the Wolf

A long time ago, when the actors’ union was still a closed shop, one of the ways that young performers gained their Equity card was by working in children’s theatre. They did the required number of weeks to get their membership and then moved on to their real goal: acting in plays for adults.

But children’s theatre is not a means to an end. Increasing numbers of companies, from Theatre-Rites to Catherine Wheels, have proved that work made for children can be as innovative, finely crafted and layered as shows for adults. Often more so, because unlike polite adult audiences, children let you know if you are boring them or being self-indulgent. Unless, of course, their parents keep shushing them because they reckon culture is a kind of medicine and so all theatre will do their kids good. It won’t if it’s bad theatre.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:50 am

The Guardian view on Steve Bannon’s departure: a presidency in eclipse | Editorial

The most combative White House aide has gone. Less a victory for moderation than a win for Wall Street, the generals and low tax Republicans

In some civilisations, eclipses of the sun have always been seen as powerful portents. Awe-struck humans have even been known to respond with a human sacrifice, designed to appease deities who could make the land dark. If Donald Trump’s sacking of his chief strategist Steve Bannon was a sacrifice of this kind, it did not protect America from Monday’s spectacular sea-to-sea darkling. But it was certainly an attempt to save the administration from a total eclipse of its own.

Some see the ousting of Mr Bannon last week simply as a victory for traditionalist and moderate Republicans. In this reading, the disciplined new White House chief of staff, General John Kelly, has triumphed over the disruptive rightwing populism of Mr Bannon. There is some validity to that. The president’s broadcast on Monday, which was expected to announce fresh troop deployments in Afghanistan, will be scrutinised for evidence of it. While he was in the White House, Mr Bannon fought the generals’ wishes for more troops, backing the use of private contractors rather than US forces. Mr Trump’s words may show the extent to which Bannonism of some kind has survived the departure of the man himself.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:34 am

Eni Aluko: ‘The minute you are brave enough to talk about race you are in a difficult situation’

In a revealing interview, the striker opens up on her problems with the Football Association after telling the organisation about what she felt was ‘discrimination, victimisation and bullying’ in the England camp

Why is it so important to you, after everything that has come out, to tell your side of the story in response?

Until now I haven’t felt the need to speak publicly about what happened. One, the terms of my agreement with the Football Association meant I wasn’t able to speak about the facts of the case unless they became public and, two, I didn’t think it was needed because I had been trying to move on and put it behind me.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 5:00 am

'He was a gay guy who won': why I wrote a play about ice-skating genius John Curry

Tony Timberlake has turned his lifelong fascination with the champion figure skater and 1970s gay icon into a heartbreaking one-man show

In 1976, John Curry won the figure-skating gold medal for Britain at the winter Olympics in Innsbruck. Later that year he was voted BBC sports personality of the year, at a time when cricketers, runners, racing drivers and members of the royal family tended to hog the award. Not bad for a gay man who in the same year was outed by a German newspaper – a potent event in a notoriously homophobic era.

“He was a winner, a gay guy that had won,” says Tony Timberlake, an actor who has created a one-man show about Curry called Looking for John, and is performing it at the Edinburgh festival. “If you were gay in the 1970s, you didn’t have role models you could look up to. Gay men at that time were ridiculed: it was Kenneth Williams or John Inman. He wasn’t that, and he hung around in my head.”

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 4:56 am

Social mobility and improving access to Britain’s universities | Letters

Readers suggest ways of making tertiary education better value for money and more open to working-class, ethnic-minority and mature students

Sonia Sodha in her article on university reform is absolutely right to say that “the value-for-money question is critical”, not only because of idiotically high fees and interest rate on loans, but also because of ever-decreasing teaching and tutorial times (Turn the universities into comprehensives, 18 August).

University reform should start not only with reducing fees, but with making it compulsory for all degree course publicity to include the number of hours, both of teaching time in each year of the course and of tutorial time where any academic problems can be dealt with. Whether personal tutors are available or not should also be included.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 4:29 am

Why are there no white-haired women on the BBC? | Letters

Countless men work into their 70s as presenters but there are no female equivalents, says Anna Ford

Graham Ruddick mentions Tony Hall’s ambition for an equal split of male and female presenters at the BBC by 2020 (BBC gender pay gap may loom large at Edinburgh Television Festival, 21 August).

My plea (backed by a sense of despair at the past promises made and so often broken) is for the BBC to employ at least a few from that large section of our society who are invisible on BBC screens – intelligent, talented women of authority over 65 who happen to have white hair. Where are the female equivalents of John Humphrys, Peter Snow, David and Jonathan Dimbleby, John Simpson and countless other men who work well into their late 70s, all of whom have white hair?

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 4:29 am

Have you participated in Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests?

If you live in Hong Kong, we’d like you to tell us what the current political situation is like – and what hopes you have for the future

Thousands of demonstrators marched across Hong Kong to protest against the jailing of pro-democracy leaders Alex Chow, Nathan Law and Joshua Wong.

Related: Thousands march in Hong Kong for release of pro-democracy leaders

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 4:06 am

Corbyn the barbarian! Labour leader revealed as comic-book hero

Roaming the streets armed with jam, fighting the Maydusa and Daily Mail drones ... after sifting through more than 100 submissions, an anthology is set to shine a new light on Jeremy Corbyn

In one incarnation, he is Corbyn the Barbarian, facing off against the Maydusa. In another, Corbynman leaves his “mild mannered allotment of solitude” to take on the “inter-dimensional invasion fleet of Daily Mail death drones blasting everything with their Tory food bank rays” with a rallying battle cry of “jam on!”. Just in time for the Labour party conference, an unlikely superhero is preparing to take his place alongside the likes of Spider-Man and Wonder Woman: Jeremy Corbyn.

Independent graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero says it has received a “tsunami” of submissions since it opened its doors to comic-book creators a month ago, asking for comics on the subject of the Labour leader. Contributors to The Corbyn Comic Book, which will be launched at the Labour party conference in Brighton in September, include Guardian cartoonists Steve Bell, Martin Rowson and Stephen Collins, and comics artists Karrie Fransman and Steven Appleby, along with a host of strips from new writers and illustrators received during the open submission period.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 3:20 am

Gordon Williams obituary

Booker-shortlisted writer whose novel The Siege of Trencher’s Farm was adapted into the controversial Sam Peckinpah film Straw Dogs

In 2003, when the Guardian ran my admiring profile of the writer Gordon Williams, the piece was headed simply Gordon Who? It was a good question, for by the tail-end of his career Williams, who has died aged 83, was an elusive figure, wary of the publicity customarily associated with the literary life.

In his day, on the other hand, he was a versatile and prolific performer in a variety of high-profile genres. Not many Grub Street irregulars can boast, as he was able to do in the half-decade between 1966 and 1971, of having had one novel shortlisted for the Booker prize and another filmed by the Hollywood director Sam Peckinpah while carrying out ghostwriting assignments for an England football captain.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 2:42 am

Have you been paying the hair-and-makeup tax? You need Zadie Smith's 15-minute rule

The author has said she limits her daughter’s mirror time – but the average British woman still spends four hours a week putting on her face

How long did you spend in front of a mirror this morning? If you woke up in Zadie Smith’s house, it had better not have been more than 15 minutes. Speaking at the Edinburgh international book festival, Smith shared why she has given her seven-year-old daughter, Kit, the stringent quarter-of-an-hour limit: “I explained it to her in these terms: you are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this. Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he’s out the door and he doesn’t give a shit if you waste an hour and a half doing your makeup.”

Related: Beauty sleep: why there’s no escaping makeup

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 2:34 am

What should replace Confederate statues? Missy Elliott, hero of the resistance

A fan has started a petition to erect a granite statue of the rapper in Portsmouth, Virginia, replacing the town’s existing 35ft monument

Name: Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott.

Age: 46.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 2:16 am

Will Brexit boost or hurt the economy? | Patrick Minford and Molly Scott Cato

Can freer trade and no EU regulations help us? Economist Patrick Minford and Green party economy spokeswoman Molly Scott Cato go head to head

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 2:16 am

Green Man festival review – rock stars rattle Welsh bones in gala of goodwill

Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons
Skinny-dipping revellers were treated to ale, acid techno and a dramatic outing from PJ Harvey during a weekend overflowing with generosity and warmth

Green Man’s absurdly lush site nestles in the palm of a long verdant Welsh valley, with the River Usk snaking through it and the Black Mountains scooping steeply upwards into the mist behind the main Mountain Stage, one of the most beautifully positioned in all festivals.

The festival turns 15 this year with another 20,000-capacity sellout. Strong headliners have undoubtedly done their part to help shift tickets, but the roots of Green Man’s popularity lie in what it stands for: a booking policy plotting a path from the bucolic to the banging, commercialism without aggressive corporate sponsorship, a self-policing ethos of looking out for one another, and love for the land. In a world where such values are hardly winning right now, it feels like a valuable micro-experiment in a kinder and more sustainable society.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 1:49 am

A carpet of tomatoes and dew-covered cobwebs: today's unmissable photos

A selection of the day’s best images, including a tomato harvest drying in China, multicoloured saris on the streets of New York and cobwebs reminding us of the impending autumn in Herefordshire, England

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 12:19 am

The homeless Popeyes worker fighting for fair wages in Missouri – video

Despite working six days a week, Fran Marion, a single mother of two, can’t make ends meet on the $9.50 an hour she gets at Popeyes. After her previous residence was condemned by the city, she became homeless and today sleeps on her friend’s sofa. Now, she’s fighting for employee rights in Missouri on behalf of Stand Up Kansas City – to make sure that she, and other people in her position, can get a fair wage and adequate employer protection

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 12:10 am

Iain Stirling review – the voice of Love Island speaks out

Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
Fans have flocked to hear him spill the beans on the islanders, but instead we get some sharply expressed though extremely familiar standup material

Edinburgh native Iain Stirling has been bringing comedy shows to the fringe for most of a decade, but only this year has he sold out his four-week run in advance, and announced extra gigs in the 750-seat Pleasance Grand. So what’s new? In two words: Love Island. Stirling is the narrator of the water-cooler TV hit of the summer, and plenty are here to see him spill the beans on Chris, Camilla, Marcel and co. What they get instead is an hour of meat-and-potatoes standup from a prematurely ageing 29-year-old, whose broadsides against maturity and domesticity are as sharply expressed as they are extremely familiar.

There’s enough in the show to keep Stirling’s legion of new fans entertained. He announces himself, faux miffed, as the comic whose voice is more recognisable than his face, and is soon implying heavy scorn for Marcel Somerville’s megabucks book deal. “I’ve made idiots into millionaires,” quips our host. But he engages only skin-deeply with the Love Island phenomenon, embarking instead on a dismayed routine about the gentrification of Leith in the years since he and his teenage mates visited for a whiff of junkies-and-sex-work exoticism.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 12:06 am

When good TV goes bad: how MacGyver blew the bloody doors off

The maverick fixer used whatever was lying around to find ingenious solutions to problems. But when the show nicked footage from a British classic, it was one bodge too far

Related: MacGyver review – all-American hero rides to the rescue

Look back at the 1980s and the gun always shines on TV. Tom Selleck’s Magnum packed a Colt 45, the A-Team cheerfully hefted M16 assault rifles, and supposed stealth copter Airwolf bristled with chattering chainguns. But amid this trigger-happy cloud of cordite there was also a chill dude with a luxurious mullet and battered leather jacket who, despite being a freelance troubleshooter, would point-blank refuse to pick up a firearm.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 12:00 am

John Barnes: ‘Love and a good education are the best things you can give your children’

The celebrated footballer says moving to England with his military family in 1976 from a turbulent Jamaica was a blessing in disguise, and reveals how his mother became a barrister at 71

I am the youngest child, with two older sisters: Tracey, who is a year older than me (54) and Gillian, who is two years older (55). They live in Florida. We see each other once or twice a year, but speak on the phone regularly. It was difficult growing up with two older sisters – we were always fighting.

I come from a very political and military family. Ken Hill, my uncle, set up the National Labour party in Jamaica, in 1952, with the help of Frank Hill, my maternal grandfather, who was a journalist [the party existed until the 60s]. My father, Ken Barnes, became second in command of the Jamaican army after going to Sandhurst, the military academy. He was at Sandhurst with the Sultan of Brunei and Andrew Parker Bowles. When we moved to London in the 70s, Mr Parker Bowles used to visit our house in Golders Green.

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Posted on 22 August 2017 | 12:00 am

Anna Jones’s recipes for arroz con tomate and sweet potato cakes | The modern cook

As our columnist makes her annual trip to Portugal, she shares two dishes picked up on previous visits, both to be made time and again: a piquant tomato rice and an Algarvian sweet potato cake

Every August, we spend a couple of weeks on the wild south-west coast of Portugal. These holidays have a kind of ease that only comes from time spent in the same place: the comfort of repetition.

I have grown fond of Portuguese food. It is simple and homely, boldly flavoured and uncomplicated to execute. Like the long beaches of Portugal itself, we come back time and again to the same adored meals. Rustic bowls of caldo verde, a soulful soup of kale, potatoes, good olive oil and not much more, washed down with vinho verde, and custard tarts – which I buy stacked into cardboard tubes, complete with packets of icing sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling – to name two favourites.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 11:00 pm

How to Win Against History review – spotlight shines again on a starstruck Victorian toff

Assembly George Square, Edinburgh
This hilarious cabaret brings back to life the 5th Marquess of Anglesey, who squandered his family fortune on sparkling costumes and flaunted them in his own crackpot plays

History is written by the victors. The Victorian family of Henry Cyril Paget, the 5th Marquess of Anglesey, were so outraged and appalled by his behaviour – which included gutting the family chapel to turn it into a theatre and spending the family fortune on frocks and ruby-encrusted slippers – that they tried to erase him from it. Now aided by co-conspirators Matthew Blake and Dylan Townley, Seiriol Davies gives him his revenge in this clever chamber opera of crackpot fabulousness, high camp and unexpected poignancy.

Born in 1875 and glittering brightly for just 29 years, Henry was a child of the British empire reared on the playing fields of Eton. His family thought he was born to rule in crusty high Victorian style, but the cross-dressing Henry had his own entirely unique style and thought he was born to perform. Even when nobody would pay to see him.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 10:44 pm

Phil Wang: Kinabalu review – patriotism, privilege and lots of lube

Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
Ethnicity and empire are tricky subjects, but not for someone living the immigrant dream and riffing on race with a childlike glee

‘I finally became a man this year,” says 27-year-old Phil Wang, citing a first purchase of lube as the threshold to adulthood. He’s certainly come of age as a comic: the smart and funny Kinabalu is his best set by a distance, showcasing a newfound ease and confidence as he ranges across childhood memories and heroic deaths, male feminism and broodiness. And race: the show’s headline-grabbing moments find the Malaysian-born son of English and Chinese parents shelving the lube to speak against the grain about patriotism, ethnicity and empire.

Related: Comedian Phil Wang: 'I enjoy a level of patriotism that only immigrants can have'

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 10:31 pm

Have you experienced hate crime online?

Online hate crime is to be treated as seriously as offences carried out face to face. We’d like you to share your experiences with us

Stiffer penalties for abuse on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms are to be introduced, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Official figures show a 20% rise in all forms of hate crime reported to the police in the first quarter of this year. The CPS said that in 2015-16 the CPS completed 15,442 hate crime prosecutions, the highest figure on record, with a conviction rate of 83.2%.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 10:15 pm

Backstage with street performers at Edinburgh fringe – photo essay

Photographer Murdo MacLeod meets fire jugglers, clowns and mimes as they prepare to entertain the crowds during the Edinburgh festival fringe

The Edinburgh festival fringe is the largest event of its kind in the world. It began in 1947 when eight theatre companies turned up, uninvited, alongside the acts performing in the first Edinburgh international festival. Since then the fringe has grown into the biggest of Edinburgh’s festivals.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 9:36 pm

Sparks webchat – post your questions now

The Mael brothers will be joining us to answer your questions in a live webchat from 1pm on Wednesday 23 August

They are one of the most idiosyncratic acts in pop history, probably the only band to have made disco with Giorgio Moroder, formed a supergroup with Franz Ferdinand, and created a musical about the life of Ingmar Bergman.

Now approaching 50 years in the game, Sparks – aka brothers Ron and Russell Mael – emerged from Los Angeles in the glam rock era, and they scored a UK No 2 hit in 1974 with This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the Both of Us, before embracing electronics and dance music. They have continuously released records since: in 2008, their Sparks Spectacular concert series saw them perform all 21 in their entirely. Their 23rd album Hippopotamus is out on September 8.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 9:32 pm

Rooney Mara: look out, Greta Gerwig – there’s a new arthouse darling in town

Is the star of Una and A Ghost Story next in line for the crown of indie queen?

Related: A Ghost Story review – Casey Affleck goes undercover in a strange and haunting tale

Gena Rowlands, Parker Posey, Chloë Sevigny, Greta Gerwig. These are the US indie queens, women whose legends were built by low-budget films, who used their intrinsic cool and prolific output to keep the most precarious corner of the film industry afloat. With this month’s release of Una and A Ghost Story, two high-profile indies both starring Rooney Mara, is it time to anoint the next successor?

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 8:59 pm

Jerry Lewis: a knockabout clown with a dark and melancholy inner life | Peter Bradshaw

The former comedy partner of Dean Martin, and star of films such as The Nutty Professor and The King of Comedy, was a complex, brilliant figure who evolved into an audacious cinematic innovator

Jerry Lewis: from Cinderfella to King of Comedy – a career in clips

For some, it is his masterpiece. For others, it is unendurably and outrageously awful, an exercise in frantically broad slapstick comedy that inspires pure disbelief, as well as derision for those reported chin-strokers and ironic postmodernists in France and elsewhere who affect to admire it. The film is The Nutty Professor, from 1963, that wacky doppelgänger farce inspired by Jekyll and Hyde, co-written and directed by its legendary star… Jerry Lewis.

Related: Jerry Lewis, king of comedy, dies at 91

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 8:04 pm

Christmas albums: 13 ways to spot a festive turkey

News of Sia’s impending yuletide record brought us out in cinnamon-flavoured hives. Here, we run down the cliches of seasonal music

Related: Sia: ‘Everyone in entertainment is insecure. We’ve been dancing our entire lives for your approval’

Extremely “OK then?????” news this week, when it emerged that no-faced pop savant Sia is releasing a Christmas album. While we all sit around and figure out how exactly you can Christmas aesthetic a blunt fringe (will there be baubles in the fringe, or will it be covered in fake snow? Will it split down the middle in candy cane stripes? It’s impossible to know), Sia will be busy working with producer Greg Kurstin, once of Kelly Clarkson’s 2013 yulefest Wrapped in Red, to sing about reindeers and snow in a not-even-transparent land grab for that sweet Noddy Holder-shaped annual dividend. Add to that Gwen Stefani, a pop star you may remember from 2003, who is rumoured to be doing the exact same thing, and it’s set to be a banner year for Christmas.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 8:00 pm

RPS International Images for Science competition shortlist – in pictures

Here’s just a small selection of the 100 images shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society’s International Images for Science competition. The competition is supported by Siemens as part of the Curiosity Project, which aims to engage young people with science and engineering. The five winners will be announced in an award ceremony in London on 12 September.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 8:00 pm

Sotheby's auction photographs collected by Mario Testino – in pictures

Shake It Up photographs from the Mario Testino collection to be auctioned by Sotheby’s for the benefit of Museo Mate, Lima, Peru

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 7:30 pm

Universities are broke. So let’s cut the pointless admin and get back to teaching | André Spicer

The meaningless tasks and faux-business strategies prioritised by British universities have skewed their real role

• André Spicer is an author and a professor of organisational behaviour

As students have been celebrating their exam results, pundits from across the political spectrum have been commiserating the state of British universities. Andrew Adonis, an education minister during the Blair years, has excoriated universities for offering costly courses while jacking up the pay of their senior leaders. Nick Timothy, Theresa May’s ex-advisor, thinks UK universities are an unsustainable “Ponzi scheme”. The universities minister, Jo Johnson, has written about the need to put further pressure on seats of higher learning so students get good value for money.

Behind the political point-scoring are more serious issues. The university sector has been growing for decades, but now that growth is going into reverse. The number of undergraduates applying to universities has fallen by 4% this year. Although close to 50% of the population goes through higher education, only about 20% of jobs require an undergraduate degree. One US study found that 46% of students showed no improvement in their cognitive skills during their time at university. In some courses, like business administration, students’ capacity to think got worse for the first few years. And after they graduated, many struggled to find full-time work while being loaded down with debt. Nearly a quarter of graduates were living with their parents or relatives.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 7:00 pm

I’m a 27-year-old virgin – should I see an escort?

I had a difficult childhood and although I am now on medication and doing much better, I feel so much shame and regret

I am a 27-year-old virgin and have never had a relationship. This causes me a lot of shame and regret. I had a difficult childhood and have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, depression and generalised anxiety. I am finally on medication and am finding socialising less difficult, but I feel so inadequate. I am seriously considering seeing an escort just so I can get it over with.

The fact that you have expressed a desire to have a sexual connection with another person is a very good sign that you may be ready to do so. But while your idea of seeking an “escort” might help with the mechanics of sex, it may be detrimental in other ways. Your real task is not to achieve basic sexual coupling, but to learn how to comfortably navigate dating and courtship, and to develop relationship skills. Rather than forming a pattern of financially based sexual contact, it would be far better if you could begin to seek friendships that have the potential to develop into long-term, loving relationships.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 7:00 pm

Allotments week: your pictures

We asked readers via GuardianWitness to share pictures of their allotments, to celebrate National allotments week. Here are some of our favourites

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 6:10 pm

The magical world of Parisian mysticism – in pictures

Forget The Da Vinci Code. Why look for secret symbols in Leonardo’s paintings if they can be found in modern art? The Guggenheim show Mystical Symbolism reveals the curious world of French Symbolism that art critic Joséphin Péladan revealed in his salon exhibitions of the 1890s

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

From porridge to blackout blinds to Colin Firth reading Graham Greene – how you beat insomnia

We asked readers how they got a good night’s sleep and this is what they said …

The slightest stress or worry and I would lie awake for hours, unable to drop off. Then I started doing one simple thing – times tables. I started with the 13 times table in my head until I could recite it without pausing, then moved on to the 14 times table and so on. It was enough to distract my brain from whatever was worrying me and allowed me to get to sleep. I am astounded at the difference it has made. I have suffered for decades and this simple exercise sorted it within a few weeks.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

Bricking it: Bake Off judges reject Guardian reporter's rock-hard brownies

As new GBBO series nears, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are unimpressed by Nadia Khomami’s baking ‘skills’

“Never bake again” is Paul Hollywood’s advice for me when I present him and Prue Leith with a tray of mediocre, hard brownies that have been left in the oven for too long.

After failing to cut into them, the veteran Great British Bake Off judge rises from his seat, stacks my desserts on the floor and steps on them to prove that even a boot would fall short of dismantling them. It seems a tad harsh, even for a man known for his steely looks and severe put-downs on screen.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 11:01 am

North Korea's bold wave of propaganda art - in pictures

The searing propaganda is aimed to embolden the country and urge its people to resist US imperialism – with an arsenal of missiles eyed as the ultimate threat

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 8:11 am

Jerry Lewis: a life in pictures

Comedian and actor Jerry Lewis, star of The Nutty Professor and The KIng of Comedy, has died

Peter Bradshaw on Jerry Lewis: a knockabout clown with a dark and melancholy inner life
Jerry Lewis, king of comedy, dies at 91

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 6:28 am

Macbeth review – high camp, dark drama and more than a hint of Game of Thrones

Festival theatre, Edinburgh
This new production from Teatro Regio Torino has a solid cast and striking imagery backed by a richly nuanced account of Verdi’s score

Verdi’s take on the Scottish play was the first opera to be performed at the inaugural Edinburgh festival, which is why it makes an appearance at the festival’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Not that there’s a lot of Scotland in evidence in this new production from Teatro Regio Torino and music director Gianandrea Noseda, which opens the company’s week-long residency in Edinburgh. Emma Dante’s production exudes a general northern modishness, with more than a hint of Games of Thrones about Vanessa Sannino’s costumes. This is apparent from the outset when Dalibor Jenis’s ponytailed, fur-clad Macbeth rides in on a skeleton horse. There’s little set to speak of; rather, the production is an exercise in chiaroscuro, with Cristian Zucaro’s lighting providing an eerie backdrop against which the witches writhe and plenty of dark corners where assassins can hide.

Given the two decades that divide its creation and the later revisions, Macbeth is far from a musically homogeneous work – something emphasised here as Noseda mixes liberally from the two versions. It’s a disparity that finds its visual analogue in the production. Scenes of high camp – jauntily marching soldiers and tumblers – contrast with moments of stark simplicity, particularly the act 4 opening chorus of exiled Scots lamenting the fate of their homeland. While there are some striking ideas: the crucifixion imagery following Duncan’s murder, there are also misjudgments: the automaton hospital beds following Lady Macbeth around during the sleepwalking scene.

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Posted on 21 August 2017 | 12:09 am

Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend

Plan your viewing with our list of top shows, ordered by start time. This page will be updated throughout the festival

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Posted on 20 August 2017 | 9:38 pm

Sink or swim: readers' photos on the theme of float

For last week’s photography assignment in the Observer New Review we asked you to share your photos on the theme of float via GuardianWitness. Here’s a selection of our favourites

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Posted on 20 August 2017 | 8:00 pm

Edinburgh theatre review: The Divide; Flight; Adam; Meet Me at Dawn

King’s theatre; Church Hill theatre; Traverse, Edinburgh
A six-hour Alan Ayckbourn epic is outdone by some tiny model figures, a true-life transgender tale and two marooned women with a secret

The Divide is one of the most astonishing failures I have seen on the stage. Astonishing not because a floundering drama is at the centre of the Edinburgh international festival’s theatre programme. It is hardly the first. But because this is an utterly undramatic play by Alan Ayckbourn – whose language is essentially theatrical. Ayckbourn has always been a disguiser, making light of his talents as he turns metaphysics into dancing comedy, and passes off philosophical exchanges as breakfast chat. He does not explain or describe: he demonstrates. Vivaciously. But The Divide is torpid.

There is one bright spark in the middle of Annabel Bolton’s production. Erin Doherty shines as the main reporter of the action: nearly always centre stage, though to the side of the main events. As she moves gawkily from childhood to young womanhood, she is utterly open but always wary. Burnished but unvarnished. She identifies with Jane Eyre – and makes you want to see her in the part.

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Posted on 20 August 2017 | 7:00 pm

Secret Life of Humans review – questing history of the species

Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
A Tinder date with the grandson of 70s TV scientist Jacob Bronowski prompts a thrilling mystery that asks almost too many big questions

The mathematician and scientist Jacob Bronowski, whose groundbreaking 1973 series The Ascent of Man brought popular science to TV, took an optimistic view of human progress. But was he right in his rosy assessment of humanity and its ability to confront the challenges facing it and use past experience to create a better future?

Related: Spider-Man's dad, Ruby Wax and Labour v Tory standup: Edinburgh festival 2017 – in pictures

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Posted on 20 August 2017 | 4:43 am

Smartphone extremists and VR scuba-divers: Edinburgh's tech trailblazers

One woman interrogates her personal assistant in Siri, The Believers Are But Brothers brings the war on terror to your mobile, and Frogman conducts an underwater murder investigation via VR headset

At the Edinburgh festival, a woman is talking to her iPhone’s personal assistant, Siri. But this isn’t a private encounter between one woman and technology. Much like Krapp’s Last Tape could be described as a piece for two performers – an actor and a tape recorder – so Siri is a show featuring a human and a digital performer. Canadian actor Laurence Dauphinais poses the program a series of questions that, as they probe into her own background, elicit ever more existentialist-sounding replies.

Related: Javaad Alipoor: 'The response to radicalism is to shut down debate for young people'

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Posted on 20 August 2017 | 2:08 am

Hannah Gadsby review – electrifying farewell to standup

Assembly George Square, Edinburgh
Comedy proves inadequate consolation for battling the patriarchy in the Tasmanian standup’s uncomfortable but indelible swansong

Hannah Gadsby’s extraordinary Nanette arrives in Edinburgh trailing plaudits from its Australian run. But it is, she announces, her swansong: “I’m quitting comedy. Done. Bored.” Gadsby has lost patience with the elisions and deceptions standup entails. “I’ve made my story into a joke,” she says, in a show that’s passionately concerned with challenging the (patriarchal, heteronormative) stories our culture tells itself. There are jokes in Nanette, too: some good ones, initially. But they dry up – and something more confrontational, an angry repudiation of the consolations of comedy, takes their place.

Related: The 10 best jokes from the Edinburgh fringe

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 11:11 pm

Our Carnal Hearts review – hilarious dissection of social envy

Summerhall, Edinburgh
Structured like a church service, Rachel Mars’ exploration of humanity’s competitive spirit has an added piquancy on the Edinburgh fringe

It is the sticky and spiky hidden parts of ourselves that are displayed in Rachel Mars’ entertainingly nasty interrogation of the competitive spirit – which comes laced with song, arson and a large dose of envy. It’s fitting that it takes place in the dissection room, because it is the human heart that is being pulled apart to find that dark, secret place Gore Vidal acknowledged when he declared “whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.”

Frantic Assembly explored the subject beadily with Mark Ravenhill’s Pool (No Water). Now Mars and her fellow conspirators – Louise Mothersole, Rhiannon Armstrong, Rachel Weston, Rebecca Atkinson-Lord and Orla O’Flanagan – twist the knife by making it personal over 60 minutes that take the form of a series of lessons in a kind of church service , complete with a female choir. Mars leads us through these lessons with murder in her heart.

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 10:33 pm

Eyewitness accounts of the Spain terror attacks

Witnesses to the vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils share their experiences of the terror events

At least 13 people are dead and dozens injured after a van crashed into a crowd of people in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas area. Hours later, in the seaside town of Cambrils, a second vehicle hit pedestrians leaving one dead and six wounded.

We spoke to witnesses of the attacks.

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

The superhero and the standup: Spider-Man Tom Holland and his dad Dominic

The star of Marvel’s blockbuster is the subject of his father’s comedy show at the Edinburgh fringe. They discuss the art of getting laughs, sending Spidey back to school and finding the old man a part in a webslinging sequel

There is no shortage of up-and-coming comedians with famous parents at this year’s Edinburgh fringe: Elliot Steel (son of Mark), Will Hislop (son of Ian) and Ruby Wax’s daughters, Maddy and Marina Bye, are all performing. At the Voodoo Rooms venue in the New Town, the situation is a little different. Standup Dominic Holland, who recently turned 50, is in Edinburgh with a free fringe show, 24 years after winning the best newcomer award at the festival. The subject of his new set? How his success has been surpassed by that of his 21-year-old son, Tom, star of Marvel’s latest blockbuster, Spider-Man: Homecoming.

“I genuinely don’t need to be here,” Dominic states in his show, Eclipsed, with reference to his son’s lucrative webslinging contract. He describes his own gig as “indoor busking” – it’s free to get in but he holds a bucket for punters’ donations on their way out. Tom is currently filming sci-fi thriller Chaos Walking, co-starring Daisy Ridley and based on Patrick Ness’s book trilogy, but has flown in from Canada to see the show with his family. It’s a surprise for his dad and, when I meet the two of them afterwards, they whip out a phone to play the video of Dominic’s ecstatic reaction when Tom turned up that morning.

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

The turbulent story of Steve Bannon – video profile

Steve Bannon has been a naval officer, an investment banker, a film producer and an executive at Breitbart News. He was made Donald Trump’s chief strategist and was arguably the most influential man in the White House, but has now been removed, ending his highly contentious career at the center of the Trump administration

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 5:33 am

Break Up: could you spend five hours in the company of this bunch of bananas?

Performed by people dressed as bananas, Break Up is a marathon improv show about a relationship in crisis. Our writer sits down to watch – and wishes she’d brought along a bottle of whisky


It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when I lost the will to live. It could have been four minutes in, or possibly four hours. The cast of five were improvising a relationship break-up in real time, over the course of five hours, while dressed as bananas. When people roll their eyes at the Edinburgh fringe, this is often the kind of thing they’re talking about. Except, the show’s not actually all that ludicrous. At times it’s pretty funny – and the banana costumes are not even close to being the strangest part of the evening.

Five droll New Zealanders – Ralph Upton, Joel Baxendale, Fiona McNamara, Rachel Baker and Oliver Devlin – make up the cast of Break Up (We Need to Talk) and the format is simple: four sit on the back chairs representing one half of the couple, while a single person sits in the front representing the other half. Over five hours, each takes a turn in the front seat, as they slowly improvise a scene about a couple who begin the night happy and in love and end it distraught and single. There is no script and the rules are simple: a break-up must happen at some point over the five hours, and each of the actors must speak in a specific order. Then it’s just a case of letting the romance and the chaos run free.

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 4:33 am

Share your tributes and memories of Bruce Forsyth

The king of UK gameshows whose career spanned 75 years has died aged 89. Share your memories with us

The TV entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth, known for presenting shows such as Play your cards right and Strictly Come Dancing, has died at the age of 89 after contracting bronchial pneumonia.

We’d like you to share your tributes and memories as part of our coverage. What is your favourite Bruce Forsyth moment? Perhaps you met him, or have photographs from when you were on one of his shows? We will publish the most interesting responses on the Guardian site.

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 4:08 am

My wife refuses to work yet demands a cleaner

If I ask what she does all day, she swears at me and says I am a typical male abusing her. Meanwhile, I have a six-hour daily commute, and can’t even contribute to a pension because of travel costs

I am in my 60s, and 16 years ago, under pressure, moved 100 miles from my work so my wife could be close to her ageing parents, who have now died. House prices have rocketed in the city where we lived so a return is unlikely. I have a six-hour round-trip commute and can’t contribute to a pension because of travel costs. My wife has not been interested in sex since we had children, who are now grownup. She will not work, but says she needs a cleaner. If I ask what she does all day, it results in swearing and accusations that I am a typical male abusing her. As far as I can see her life revolves around dog walking and her social life. I’m at my wits end because separation and division of our assets would result in us both living in poverty.

• When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Private Lives asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments that appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 12:05 am

Have you been affected by the attacks in Spain?

If you’ve been affected by the terror attacks in Las Ramblas Barcelona and Cambrils, you can share your experiences with us

At least 13 people are dead and dozens injured after a van crashed into a crowd of people in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas area.

Hours later, in the seaside town of Cambrils, a second vehicle hit pedestrians leaving one dead and six wounded.

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Posted on 18 August 2017 | 8:17 am

Readers recommend: share your favourite live versions

Make your nomination in the comments and a reader will pick the best eligible tracks for a playlist next week – you have until Monday 21 August

This week we’re looking for your suggestions of the best live versions ever recorded. Some might be subtly different to their studio counterparts due to energy levels or arrangement, some uniquely listenable and perhaps even only ever seen and heard on stage. For more on the theme, keep an eye on the comments.

You have until 11pm on Monday 21 August to post your nomination and make your justification. RR contributor George Boyland (who posts as sonofwebcore in the comments) will select from your recommendations and produce a playlist, to be published on 24 August.

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Posted on 18 August 2017 | 7:00 am

Grenfell inquiry should shine a spotlight on UK’s housing issues | Letters

Dr David Etherington and Melanie Henwood respond to the Grenfell inquiry terms, David Hickey recalls the government response to Aberfan, and Dr Stephen Battersby makes the case for tackling rogue landlords

With reference to your report on the Grenfell inquiry terms of reference, it is crucial, as argued by Justice for Grenfell and your editorial, that the provision, financing and allocation of social housing is put under the spotlight (Grenfell fire inquiry will not consider bigger picture, 16 August). Such an investigation would include an analysis of the impact of austerity and particularly welfare reforms.

The benefit cap is set at a level that places more and more individuals and families in a precarious financial situation, and for many abject poverty. Benefit delays resulting from the rollout of universal credit are having the same effect. The knock-on impact on social housing is significant. More and more people are falling into rent arrears and homelessness. A national housing organisation has stated that a couple with three children will not be able to afford the average housing association rent on a three-bed property in any region. The weekly shortfall under a £20,000 cap ranges from £37.40 in Yorks and Humberside to £67.35 in the south-east. They estimate that the cap will impact on 205,000 households, which will lower 200,000 children below the poverty line, with the biggest group affected being working families with three children.

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Posted on 18 August 2017 | 6:18 am

What's it like being an A-level or GCSE exam marker? Share your experiences

It’s the first year of the new A-level and GCSE exams. If you’ve been marking papers, we’d like you to tell us

A-level and GCSE exams have changed this year, with the latter having a new grading system. This comes as the exam regulator says it is clamping down on schools questioning exam results.

We’d like you to tell us what it’s been like marking exams this year. How did you find the new questions? Were you given adequate training and support?

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Posted on 17 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

Readers recommend playlist: songs with tragedy and comedy

This week our reader extracts the tragicomic from your suggestions, weaving a tale or two among songs from Tindersticks, Los Campesinos! and Nick Cave

Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from hundreds of suggestions on last week’s callout. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.

It’s a sad and funny old world. Below are my tragedy and comedy picks, split into in three sections with illustrative tragicomic tales woven in. Happy listening!

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Posted on 17 August 2017 | 2:32 am

How Donald Trump emboldened the US far right – video explainer

Donald Trump reverted to blaming ‘both sides’ for violence at a far right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Having eventually denounced specific racist groups, the president used a press conference to once again spread blame for the weekend’s disorder to those he calls the ‘alt-left’. Violence and disorder between far-right and anti-fascist groups has been widespread across the US since his election as president

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Posted on 16 August 2017 | 9:57 pm

Have you put off applying to university because of uncertainty over tuition fees?

There has been much debate about the cost of higher education in England. Have possible policy changes affected your decision to go to university?

Jeremy Corbyn pledged to abolish tuition fees during this year’s general election. If Labour won, he said new university students would be freed from paying £9,000 as early as the autumn 2017.

The policy prompted much discussion around the cost of higher education. Although Labour did not win, the Conservative cabinet minister Damian Green said the Tories need a national debate on university tuition fees.

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Posted on 16 August 2017 | 7:03 pm

What's the one change that's worked for you to tackle sleep problems?

As part of a new series exploring small changes that have improved your life, we want to hear from people who have cracked the secret to better sleep

Getting enough sleep can sometimes feel impossible to achieve – especially given the digital distractions and demands of modern times. But maybe you’ve found a simple solution that works for you?

As part of a new series looking at the small changes that can help improve people’s lives, we want to hear from people who feel like they have cracked the secret to better sleep, through one change they have made.

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Posted on 15 August 2017 | 10:07 pm

What are your experiences of care homes in the UK?

One in six care homes are in danger of insolvency. We’d like you to share your experiences

Around 420,000 people over the age of 65 are being looked after in 11,000 residential care homes in the UK. But a report released on Monday has warned that one in six care home companies is in danger of insolvency.

Rises in the living wage have driven up costs, and many care homes are facing bankruptcy. The percentage of nursing homes struggling had increased by about 5% compared with the previous year.

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Posted on 14 August 2017 | 9:54 pm

'I don't want any more sadness in my life' - comedy theatre about life in the Calais refugee camp

PsycheDelight, a social theatre company made up of people who met in the Calais refugee camp known as the ‘Jungle’, have devised a tragicomedy play, Borderline, about their experiences which premiered at this year’s Brighton fringe festival. We meet three of the show’s main actors, who are all facing extradition from the UK, and see how they are using laughter as an antidote to their struggles.

PsycheDelight are crowdfunding to take Borderline on tour

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Posted on 14 August 2017 | 6:00 pm

'The perfect Alabama candidate': Republicans warm to Vladimir Putin – video

Vladimir Putin’s favorability ratings have tripled among Republicans in recent years. To find out why, Paul Lewis travelled to deeply conservative Alabama, before next week’s Republican Senate primary to choose a replacement for Jeff Sessions. Could Putin’s rising popularity be explained through the Christian evangelicals backing Roy Moore, the famed ‘Ten Commandments Judge’ turned Senate frontrunner?

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Posted on 10 August 2017 | 9:58 am

Murder, corruption and cattle barons in Kenya – video

The Guardian investigates the causes behind the murder of Tristan Voorspuy, a former British army officer shot on his ranch by nomadic herders in March. The central Kenyan county of Laikipia has become the epicentre of a bloody conflict between pastoralists from the north and farmers whose land they have invaded. A severe drought aggravated by climate change is partly to blame, but so is political manoeuvering before general elections on 8 August.

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Posted on 7 August 2017 | 9:47 pm